SEATTLE — If there was any doubt, Election 2012 has confirmed it: Washington is the slowest vote-counting state in the country. As of Thursday night, 30 states and the District of Columbia had counted virtually 100 percent of their ballots, 12 states had tabulated 99 percent and everybody else — including Washington’s vote-by-mail sibling, Oregon — were hovering around 95 percent or higher.
Democrat Jay Inslee maintained a 50,000-vote lead in the gubernatorial race Thursday night, and despite the long odds against a comeback, Republican Rob McKenna continued to insist he’ll close the gap and win as the final votes are tallied. With an estimated 770,000 votes left to be counted, time is running out for McKenna, whose vote deficit has remained nearly unchanged since Election Day.
DENVER — Hit the slopes — and then a bong? Marijuana legalization votes this week in Colorado and Washington state don’t just set up an epic state-federal showdown on drug law for residents. The measures also open the door for marijuana tourism.
OLYMPIA — Supporters of gay marriage in Washington state declared victory Wednesday, saying they don’t see a way for their opponents to prevail as votes continue to trickle in on Referendum 74. “The numbers point to victory,” said Zach Silk, a spokesman for Washington United for Marriage. “We’re really feeling good.”
SEATTLE — More ballots have been counted, but the results are still unclear for Washington’s charter schools initiative. The measure is narrowly passing, but hundreds of thousands of votes have yet to be counted.
SEATTLE — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee started making plans for a transition team for his administration Wednesday, even as Republican rival Rob McKenna insisted the election wasn’t over and predicted he’d ultimately prevail. Inslee led McKenna by about 51 to 49 percent Wednesday night, a lead of nearly 49,000 votes.
SEATTLE — Democrats are likely to retain their numerical majority in the state Senate, but three undecided races will determine their margin over Republicans. So far, Democrats are likely to lose a seat in the 10th district, where incumbent Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen is trailing Rep. Barbara Bailey by 5 points. The district covers Island County and sections of Snohomish and Skagit counties.
SEATTLE — Voters approved a constitutional amendment that places new limits on state debt and rejected another that would allow state research universities to invest reserve funds in private companies or stocks. Voters gave a thumbs down in two nonbinding advisory votes on state laws passed earlier this year. One law extended a petroleum tax that goes into the state pollution-liability-insurance trust account, and another removed a tax break for certain large banks.
OLYMPIA — Washington state is on the verge of joining Maryland and Maine as the first states to approve gay marriage with a public vote. With about half the expected ballots counted Tuesday night, Referendum 74 was passing with 52 percent of the vote. Counties were expected to post additional vote results this afternoon.
SEATTLE — Washington joined Colorado in voting to become the first states to legalize and tax the sale of marijuana for recreational use, but people shouldn’t expect to be able to buy a bag of legitimate weed any time soon. Though Washington’s Initiative 502 decriminalizes the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana beginning Dec. 6, the state has a year to come up with rules governing the growing, processing and labeling of pot before sales to adults over 21 can begin.
OLYMPIA — The charter-school initiative held a slight statewide lead Tuesday in what turned out to be one of the closest statewide races. Initiative 1240 was passing in some of the most populous counties, including Clark, Pierce and Snohomish. It was leading narrowly in Spokane, but not so in King County, where it was trailing 51 to 49 percent.
SEATTLE — Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell clinched re-election Tuesday night, easily defeating Republican newcomer Michael Baumgartner to win her third term. In early returns, Cantwell led Baumgartner 60 percent to 40 percent.
Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., had a wide lead Tuesday night in the race for the Washington 4th District congressional seat. He had 100,880 votes district wide, or 67 percent of votes counted, compared to challenger Mary Baechler’s 50,367 votes or 33 percent.
SEATTLE (AP) — Washington voters made their state the first in the nation to legalize recreational pot use on Tuesday, setting up a showdown with a federal government that backs the drug's prohibition.