Election 2011

Costco says it will offer job interviews to any Washington state liquor worker who is displaced when stores close in June.

Charla Bear / KPLU

Now that voters have kicked the state out of the liquor store business, some people are looking forward to changes in how they buy booze. Others, though, say the decision is not cause for celebration. 

Perhaps it was the struggling economy. Perhaps it was the thought of paying triple figures for vehicle registration. But Seattle voters did something on Tuesday they don't often do: They said no to a tax increase.

Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The mood in state liquor stores across Washington is subdued. More than nine-hundred state employees face lay-off with the passage of Costco-backed Initiative 1183 .

Washington voters have ended nearly 80 years of state-controlled liquor sales. As of Tuesday night, Initiative 1183 was passing with 60 percent of the vote. The measure privatizes the sale of booze and closes state liquor stores.

Seattle Times reports that the second try, plus more than $22 million, was the charm for Costco Wholesale in attempting to kick the state out of the liquor business and allow private retailers to sell liquor in Washington.

Initiative 1183 was passing with more than 60 percent of the early returns, including King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane counties. "We are very pleased and grateful to all of the coalition members across the state," said Joel Benoliel, Costco's chief legal officer.

Tacoma News Tribune reports that Tacoma voters are easily passing citywide ballot Initiative No. 1 – the measure seeking to make “marijuana or cannabis offenses … the lowest enforcement priority of the City of Tacoma.

After initial ballot counts posted as of 8:15 p.m., 65 percent of voters (16,888) were favoring the measure, compared to 35 percent of those casting “no votes” (9,240 total).

Early election returns show Tim Eyman's anti-tolling initiative is failing.

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington voters have approved a constitutional amendment that requires the Legislature to set aside cash during boom years.

Seattle voters are saying "no" to new taxes to help pay to patch potholes, improve bus service and plan for future transit needs. Proposition 1 would've levied an extra $60 annual fee for vehicle registrations in the city. It was being defeated 60 percent to 40 percent, according to early returns Tuesday. The measure was a top priority of Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council. It would've raised about $200 million over 10 years. Proponents said it was necessary to continue investing in the city's transportation infrastructure.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

OLYMPIA, Wash. — This is the last chance for voters to have a say in this year's election. Washington ballots must be postmarked or returned to an official drop-off site on Tuesday.

An embarrassing computer glitch -- but one that anyone can relate to -- in King County explains why 11,000 voters didn’t receive their ballots until just over a week before Election Day. And, just as that problem was resolved, Washington's Secretary of State discovered that 21,000 voters around the state may not have received ballots.

The county’s election director, Sherril Huff, has been invited to the Metropolitan King County Council’s Committee of the Whole on Monday to talk about 11,000 unmailed ballots, the council reports in a press release. 

Saying he's basing his decision in part on the fact that state government needs more money, Attorney General Rob McKenna says he'll vote for a measure that would privatize liquor sales in Washington.

Statewide initiatives on the Washington ballot have many people here still studying up and wondering how to vote. Registered voters have about a week left to make up their minds. Two of the most talked about issues are whether to get rid of state-run liquor stores and on how highway tolls can be spent. A survey of voters, done by researchers at the University of Washington, offers some insight into what voters might decide after all the votes are tallied.

The statewide Washington Poll, put together by UW political science Professor Matt Barreto, says the liquor privatization measure, I-1183, will likely pass because it has the hit the crucial tipping point of 50 percent. Barreto's poll says only 43 percent of those surveyed opposed the measure.