Tag Archives: voting

Opinion: What’s wrong with this picture?

Which quadrant of the city has no dropboxes?

Tonight, I am planning to drop off my ballot at one of King County Elections’ 24-hour dropboxes. I could mail it, but prefer to drop it off and know for sure that it will be received. Unfortunately for me, while there are dropboxes all over the county, there are none in any part of Southeast Seattle. There are also vans (with more limited hours) in several places to collect ballots. Once again, there are none in Southeast Seattle.

The nearest dropboxes to us are downtown and in Renton. There is also the West Seattle drop van, which closes at 5 p.m. And there is an accessible voting center (where you can also deposit ballots) at Union Station, but that also has limited hours.

Voting by mail is, generally, an improvement that promotes more participation in the voting process than the old polling system. But we should not assume that it has solved all accessibility issues, nor that vote-by-mail means that dropboxes are unnecessary. At the very least, it is not right to require payment (even of a mere stamp) to vote. But there are other reasons dropboxes are useful. For example, the polls are open until 8 p.m. on Election Day, and last minute votes are just as valid and acceptable as any others. (Otherwise, we’d close the polls earlier.) In most areas, there is no way to get something mailed that late, so a dropbox is the only way to vote in the late afternoon or early evening on November 6.

There used to be more dropboxes in the city, but King County Elections had to remove many of them to save money. Saving taxpayer money is good, but shouldn’t every quadrant of the city (at least) have a dropbox, or at least a van? North of downtown, there are three options, all north of the canal: two dropboxes and a van at the University of Washington. South of downtown, there is only the limited-hours van in West Seattle. Shouldn’t there at least be an attempt at equity here?

I know not every neighborhood can have a dropbox. It’s a problem that we provide so few of them, but I understand that with current financial reality King County Elections cannot put dropboxes everywhere we might want them. But shouldn’t there be an attempt to distribute them fairly? And wouldn’t it make sense to put dropboxes in a part of the city that has many lower-income voters who may prefer to use a dropbox to save a stamp, or who may not have easy automotive access to dropboxes further away?

For those of us in North Beacon Hill, the downtown dropbox is not too far a trip. But Southeast Seattle is a large area, and it’s not as easy for everyone to get downtown as it is for most of us on North Beacon. If Magnuson Park can host a dropbox — one of three locations north of the Ship Canal — Southeast Seattle ought to at least warrant the presence of a van to pick up ballots in future elections.

(While we’re at it, Bellevue and Mercer Island residents could use one too.)

Today is election day

It’s primary election day, and that means it’s time to get your ballots to a mailbox or drop box today if you want your vote to be counted. Some races will be decided at this primary, and there are also some levies on the ballot, including a library levy.

As long as your ballot is postmarked today, it should be counted. However, if you want to save a stamp, there are a few ballot drop boxes available — unfortunately, none in Southeast Seattle. One is at the King County Administration Building downtown, 500 4th Avenue. Even closer, however, is the Accessible Voting Center at Union Station, 401 South Jackson, which will be open until 8 p.m. There is a ballot drop box there, and you can also vote there in person if you have lost your mail-in ballot or need to use an accessible voting unit. To vote in person at Union Station, you must either show a photo ID or sign a declaration.

Election Day: Have you mailed your ballot?

It’s Election Day, and while the focus on one specific election day has dimmed somewhat since we switched to vote-by-mail, it’s still the deadline for turning in your ballot. Ballots must be postmarked today or returned to a ballot drop box by 8:00 pm to be counted. (If you get your mail to the mailbox after the final pickup of the day, you won’t get a November 8 postmark, even if the final pickup is before 8 p.m. Be careful to check pickup times.)

If you would rather not use a stamp to mail in your ballot, you can drop off your ballot at one of the county’s official ballot drop boxes. The nearest ones to Beacon Hill are located downtown, at the King County Administration Building (500 4th Ave), and in the International District at the accessible voting center at Union Station (401 S. Jackson St.). There are no drop boxes in Southeast Seattle.

If you have lost or damaged your ballot, or if you are one of the up to 21,000 voters who did not receive ballots, you can vote the old-style way in a voting booth at the accessible voting center, until 8 p.m. tonight. Bring your identification. However, the Union Station voting center is one of only three in the entire county, so be aware that there may be lines at peak periods. Get there early if you can.

If you want to remind yourself about the issues in this election, you can find the statewide candidates and ballot measures you’re eligible to vote on by filling in the form here. Local candidates and ballot measures can be found by filling in the “Your Voter Guide” form here, or reading the online voters’ pamphlet.

The first batch of results will be posted to the King County Elections page tonight at 8:30 p.m., and thereafter at 4:30 daily. Unfortunately, the 8:30 batch is the only batch of results that gets posted on Election Night these days, making Election Night parties a bit less suspenseful.

Last November, voters at the Union Station accessible voting center waited as much as three hours to vote. However, there was no wait to use the ballot drop box. Photo by Wendi.

It’s Election Day! Mail in your ballot today

A sign directed voters to the accessible voting center at Union Station last November. Photo by Wendi.
Today is Primary Election Day. Ballots must be postmarked today to be counted. If you prefer not to use the mail, you can drop off your ballot by 8 p.m. at one of the official drop boxes. The nearest one to Beacon Hill is at the King County Administration Building, 500 4th Avenue. (The BHB notes that there are drop boxes in Northeast Seattle and Northwest Seattle, but none in Southeast Seattle or West Seattle.)

You may also vote in person at one of the accessible voting centers, which are open to all voters. This is what you need to do if you’ve lost or damaged your ballot. The nearest voting center is at Union Station, 401 South Jackson St.

Need to refresh your memory about the issues and candidates? You can see a copy of the voter’s pamphlet for statewide races here. Local races can be found at the King County Elections website instead.

Today is Election Day. Vote.

Today is Election Day. In the “Vote by Mail” elections we have now, most of us do not head for our local polling place to cast our votes, but mailed ballots must be postmarked today or returned to a ballot drop box by 8:00 pm. (Be aware that if you get your mail to the mailbox after the final pickup of the day—even if it is before 8:00—you won’t get that November 2 postmark.)

If you prefer to drop off your ballot and save postage (no stamp is required if you use a drop box), there is a drop box at the King County Administration Building, 500 Fourth Avenue. Other in-city drop boxes are in Ballard and the University District. See this page for the list of all drop boxes in King County.

There is another nearby option to vote: the Accessible Voting Center at Union Station, 401 South Jackson Street in the International District. The accessible voting center is intended to provide voters with disabilities the opportunity to vote on an accessible voting unit, but is open to all voters. There is also a ballot drop box at the center. If your mail ballot was damaged or lost, you can vote at the center, but you must bring identification. See more about the accessible voting center here.

King County is estimating a total election return of about 720,000 ballots, or 68 percent of registered voters. Election results will be reported on the King County Elections website at 8:15 pm tonight and updated on following days at 4:30 pm.

Photo by Theresa Thompson via Creative Commons.

Beacon Bits: A troubled landmark

This iconic Beacon Hill landmark is a "troubled building," unable to find a new tenant despite the best views in town. Photo by Wendi.
The Seattle Times (Beacon Hill Blog news partner) reports that the PacMed/Amazon landmark building at the north tip of Beacon Hill is a “troubled property.” No replacement for primary tenant Amazon has yet been found, though the building has been on the market for almost three years.

* * *

The Seattle Public Library is raising fines and fees starting on Monday, November 1. Among the changes:

  • The daily fine for an overdue book, CD, or DVD will change from 15 cents a day to 25 cents a day.
  • The daily fine for an overdue interlibrary loan will change from 25 cents a day to $1 a day.

Also, all accounts with a balance of $25 will be sent to a collection agency, including accounts for children and teens.

You can find out more about the fee and fine increases at the library website.

* * *

“Drawing the Land,” by Elizabeth Conner, is the newest and perhaps largest work of public art on Beacon HillBeacon Hill Public Art

* * *

Angela Garbes of Seattle Weekly‘s Voracious blog notes a recent addition to MacPherson’s Fruit and Produce market (4500 15th Avenue South): day-old breads from Essential Baking Company. Yum!

* * *

The Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and City Neighborhood Council (CNC) are currently seeking input from community groups throughout Seattle as a way to find out how to support the evolution of the Neighborhood District Council system as a key avenue for civic participation in Seattle.

Please take this survey if you are interested in Seattle neighborhoods, and spread the word to anyone else who may be interested in helping strengthen civic engagement in our city. The survey will be open until November 14.

* * *

We see on Craigslist that Salon Nouveau (2805 Beacon Avenue South) has a job opening for a salon coordinator. More information here.

* * *

A couple of upcoming events to be aware of:

  • Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson will host a Community Coffee Chat for parents, grandparents and caregivers of SPS students on Monday, November 1 from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at Asa Mercer Middle School, 1600 South Columbian Way.
  • El Centro’s Dia de los Muertos Opening Ceremony is Monday, November 1, at 5:30 pm. More information here.
  • Election Day is Tuesday! Get those ballots in the mail now!

Don’t forget to check our Events page for other upcoming events!

Beacon Bits: Halloween, Election Day, and Friday night music

It's that time of year again -- time for all little ghosties to celebrate Halloween! Photo by Paul Sapiano via Creative Commons.
Seattle Parks and Recreation is hosting Halloween events for kids at our local community centers on Beacon Hill.

Jefferson Community Center will have a Halloween Howl and Carnival on Friday, October 22 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, with games, goodies, prizes, a haunted house, and more. Costumes are optional, but encouraged, and the event is for children of all ages. Admission is free but carnival tickets are 25 cents each. The JCC is also holding a Toddler Trick-or-Treat day on Thursday, October 21 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm. The little ones can dress up, play games, then enjoy “tot time” in the gym. The toddler event is $2 per child. For more information, call 206-684-7481. Jefferson Community Center is located at 3801 Beacon Avenue South.

Van Asselt Community Center is hosting a Fall Harvest Festival for kids up to age 12 on Friday, October 29, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. They tell us it’s a “safe evening of games and goodies.” Kids can celebrate by wearing costumes and bringing a goodie bag or basket (optional). There is no fee for the event. Van Asselt Community Center is located at 2820 South Myrtle Street. For more information, call 206-386-1921.

* * *

Live and local music is coming to Tasha’s Bistro Café on Friday nights, organized by Beacon Music (the folks behind this summer’s Beacon Rocks! music series).

Performances are every Friday night at 7:30 pm. Families are welcome. There is no cover charge. The first performance is October 22, with Jack LeNoir and Betty Jean playing jazz standards, eclectic rock and original music.

Performers who would like to perform at Tasha’s should contact Betty Jean at beaconrocks@gmail.com. Tasha’s Bistro Café is located at 2524 Beacon Avenue South.

* * *

Sustainable South Seattle (S3) is hosting a Climate Co-op Workshop to share ideas about how we can work together as a community to save money, improve our neighborhood and do our part to take care of the planet for our children. Guest Speakers at the workshop include Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith, Brooks Kolb, Michael Murphy, and others.

The forum is on Wednesday, October 20, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Southside Commons, 3518 South Edmunds Street in Columbia City, just a block and a half away from Columbia City Station. Please RSVP to climate.coop@gmail.com. If you need language assistance please say which language within the email. Childcare will be available.

* * *

The NAMSAYIN Beacon Hill shirts sold out on Sunday at Deli. You can see some of the happy buyers here, including BHB‘s own Jason. Stay tuned to the blog for some shirt giveaways, once we come up with a good contest idea or two!

* * *

Laura Feinstein writes,

I’m hoping you will post a request to our south end neighbors to consider applying for a position on one of the citizen advisory committees that that city hosts. I am a member of the Solid Waste Advisory Committee and I am the only member from the south end of Seattle (south of I-90). Our part of the city is very under-represented. This is a way to weigh-in on key city decisions.

Application information is here and if you miss the October 15 deadline, send your application anyway… they will likely consider late applications.

* * *

Speaking of civic responsibility, ballots for the General Election should be arriving in your mailbox any day now. Please vote thoughtfully, and don’t forget to mail the ballot in before it’s too late!

Nice shoes! Photo by Theresa Thompson via Creative Commons.

Beacon Bits: Grant money, free acupuncture, and a flying cart

One of our Beacon Hill neighbors hanging out on a tree. Photo by Freeman Mester in the Beacon Hill Blog photo pool on Flickr.
We missed this, so we have to thank the Rainier Valley Post for bringing it to our attention. Last year, Jason lamented that the 2009 Neighborhood Business District grant money passed our neighborhood by. Things have changed. The new Beacon Merchants Association recently received a 2010 Neighborhood Business District grant from the city’s Office of Economic Development (OED), to be used for membership outreach and board training.

* * *

Beacon Pub is starting a Trivia Night every Wednesday at 7:00 pm. It’s free to play, and the current first place prize is a $20 coupon for pub drinks and food. Up to four players are allowed per team. The weekly event is organized and hosted by members of the community.

* * *

A member of the BAN list posted a runaway tale to that mailing list the other day:

“A shopping cart was sent flying down Grand Street in the middle of the night (last night) with a giant television in it. It crashed on 12th, making an awful mess. Fortunately, no one was hurt, and all property seems unscathed.” Police and the Illegal Dumping Department were contacted.

* * *

There’s a lot happening on Beacon Hill these days. Don’t forget to check our Events page to keep track of everything going on, including events like the following:

CommuniChi Community Acupuncture has two Free Acupuncture Days for new patients on Friday, August 13, and Saturday, August 14. You can reserve a spot using their online scheduler. The clinic is located at 2524 16th Avenue South, #301, inside the El Centro building.

* * *

The League of Women Voters is holding a Primary Election Forum at Seattle First Baptist Church (Harvard and Seneca), on Thursday, August 5, from 7:30 – 9:00 pm to hear statewide candidates for two State Supreme Court seats and local King County Council District 8 candidates. (Part of Beacon Hill is in District 8.) King County Council District 8 voters will choose among four candidates in the August 17 primary election. For more information contact the League office at 206-329-4848, visit the website, or email info@seattlelwv.org.

* * *

The Second Annual Rizal Park Fest will take place on Sunday August 15 from 12 noon to 8:00 pm at, you guessed it, Dr. Jose Rizal Park, across from Pac Med/Amazon. There will be nine live bands along with food vendors, artists, and activities for the whole family. See the website for more, and please note that volunteers are needed!

Beacon Hill Democrats to caucus this Sunday

Democrats in Beacon Hill’s legislative districts are holding caucuses this Sunday, March 14, at 1:00 pm. All Democrats in each district are welcome to attend the caucus to meet their neighbors, provide input on the party’s direction, hear speeches from candidates and elected officials, and elect delegates and alternates for the county and state conventions.

To vote at the caucus, you must be registered to vote in the district, and sign a pledge that you are a Democrat.

The 11th Legislative District Democratic Party Caucus will be held at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751 Hall, 9125 15th Place South in South Park. Doors open at 12:00 noon. More information at the 11th District Dems website.

The 37th Legislative District Democratic Party Caucus will be held at South Shore School K-8, 4800 South Henderson Street in Rainier Beach (about four blocks west of Rainier Beach Station). More information at the 37th District Dems website.

The Republican legislative district caucuses are later: the 11th District caucus will be in Renton on March 27, and the 37th District caucus has not yet been announced. See this PDF for more information.

School levy ballots due today

If these are still sitting on your kitchen table, better mail them in today! Photo by Wendi.
It’s election day, which means it’s your last chance to get your ballots either mailed in or dropped off for this election. There is only one neighborhood drop box in Seattle this time, and it’s downtown at the King County Administration Building, 500 4th Avenue (just east of Pioneer Square Station). You can drop your ballot off at the drop box until 8:00 pm, and no stamp is needed.

If you prefer to mail yours in, you can mail it anywhere — as long as you mail it early enough to be postmarked today. Don’t forget to sign the envelope on the signature line!

Need to refresh your memory about the two Seattle school levies on today’s ballot? Here’s a link to the voters’ pamphlet.