Political news

Less than two weeks to go until Election Day, and some people are still scrambling to register for the Oct. 29 in-person deadline.

Pedro Fp / Flickr

If Initiative 502 passes, walking around with a bag of marijuana (up to an ounce) will be legal just in time for the holidays … so take note, gift-givers (and be aware those of you who might think the law takes effect right away). 

Even though the elaborate state-regulated apparatus for growing, processing and selling marijuana would take more than a year to come online, simple possession would be legal starting December 6.

Seka Ojdrovic-Phillips / KPLU

With ballots and voters’ guides in-hand, it’s time to narrow in on the issues. For those who prefer an interactive way to exchange opinions on the ballot measures, there’s the Living Voters Guide, sponsored by Seattle CityClub and the University of Washington.

Gregoire to candidates: 'Sounds good, doesn't work'

Oct 26, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Outgoing Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has a message for the candidates to replace her: “sounds good, doesn’t work.” That’s Gregoire’s take on several of the budget-balancing ideas she’s hearing from fellow Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna.

In response to reporter questions, Gregoire got to play the role of seasoned eight-year veteran of the governor’s office. Both candidates say they would look to close outdated tax loopholes.

“I said that eight years ago," the governor says. "I’ve learned a lot.”

Thirty years ago, the primatologist Frans de Waal published Chimpanzee Politics, a wonderful bombshell of a book that revealed the depth of chimpanzees' social complexity. Based on long-term observations at Arnhem Zoo in the Netherlands, many of de Waal's descriptions match comfortably with what chimpanzees in the wild have since been observed to do.

Reporters from four public media stations on the West Coast have been working on a project to find out what is — or isn't — motivating young voters to take part in the political process this year.

TAMPA, Fla. – The FBI is joining an investigation into bogus letters sent from Seattle to many Florida voters that raise questions about their eligibility to cast ballots.

Marijuana legalization is back on the ballot this year. California voters defeated a legalization proposal in 2010, but now similar measures have cropped up in three more Western states. This time around, some of the most intense opposition is coming from the earlier pioneers of legalization — the medical marijuana industry.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Republicans have released documents that show Governor Chris Gregoire appointed a state senator to a $92,000 a year job –- despite concerns that the senator wasn’t qualified for the position. This is just the latest development in a political drama touched off by the appointment.

Population growth triggered changes to Washington’s political map. This week, KPLU is looking at two districts with the most dramatic changes - the new 10th Congressional district, which takes in Joint Base Lewis-McChord and our state capitol, and the first Congressional district, a seat Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee used to hold.

If you’ve looked at your ballot, you may have noticed that you're in a new Congressional district.

If so, you're hardly alone. More than a million western Washington residents have been reassigned to new Congressional districts.

That's true for every resident of the new 10th district – which was added to the state because of population growth in the 2010 census.

As both the Democrat and Republican in the race explain, the dominant symbol for this area is Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

In an election year when young people, 18 to 30, are disparaged for their apparent lack of interest (and here), KPLU has begun a video project to find out what would drive a young person to vote in this election.

We’ve started gathering our videos on the Tumblr page “Give Me a Reason” and will continue to add to it this week. We also hope you (young person) will add your video to our project by submitting it on our Tumblr page.


OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Bill and Melinda Gates have donated $500,000 to the campaign to uphold the state's same-sex marriage law.

Transcript of the third debate between President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney, Oct. 22 in Boca Raton, Fla., moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS. Source: Federal News Service

Editor's Note: NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future.

One-on-one with Washington's candidates for governor

Oct 22, 2012

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Ballots are arriving in the mail. And a new poll shows the race for Washington governor is a virtual dead heat. Whoever is elected will inherit a budget shortfall along with a court order to spend more on education.

Foreign policy proved to be a subject that kept the tone mostly substantive tonight in the third and final debate between President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney before the Nov. 6 election.

Here's the third and final presidential debate live via YouTube's politics channel. And ... a poll (vote after the debate)!

Secretary of State

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In this era of mail-in balloting, political campaigns have become a bit like Santa Claus: He may know if you’ve been bad or good. But, they know whether you’ve voted yet or not - and who you’re likely to support.

Here's a new idea for a Presidential Debate Drinking Game: Every time someone says "Presidential Debate Drinking Game" today, take a drink. Just kidding.

But drinking games have become a familiar part of the American political landscape — like buttons, bunting and bumper stickers. Where there are political rallies, there are protesting groups. Where there are campaign speeches, there are fact checking teams. And where there are presidential candidates' debates, there are drinking games.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington's race for governor is tied.

A survey conducted last week while ballots were going out to voters showed that Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna both had the support of 46 percent of voters. Inslee was faring better among women while McKenna was getting the support of 19 percent of people who voted for President Barack Obama in 2008.

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is offering to match up to $250,000 of donations made by the end of the week to the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state.

The Justice Department's top officials in Washington state have appointed prosecutors to monitor complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses.

We've reached an important landmark in the presidential campaign: President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney face off tonight in the third and final presidential debate.

As was the case the last two times, the debate starts at 9 p.m. ET. This time, the venue is Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.

If you believe the snap polls, the first debate went to Romney, the second went to Obama, which means we have a 1-1 tie with just minutes to go in the fourth quarter. That is to say, we're just two weeks away from Nov. 6.

If the last presidential debate was any indication, you'll be hearing a lot about China in tonight's third and final face-off between President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Last week's debate was ostensibly about domestic issues, but that didn't stop China from being mentioned numerous times. Tonight's debate, focused on foreign policy, is sure to see relations with Beijing get a lot of airplay.

Watching television political ads, you might think the job of Washington Attorney General is to be the state's chief criminal prosecutor. It's not. Most of the work is civil, defending state agencies and laws.

Still, there's been a debate in the campaign between Republican Reagan Dunn and Democrat Bob Ferguson over the importance of criminal prosecution experience.

(To hear the story, click on the Listen button above.)

Talking about drugs and alcohol with kids is awkward. And now that there is an initiative on November’s ballot that would make marijuana legal for people 21 and older, families might want to figure out what their boundaries will be.  So far, 17 year old Mary Kupper, a junior at Lakeside School, hasn’t gotten that memo yet from her parents Bill and Jane Kupper.

“In recent memory, they’ve never told me ‘don’t do marijuana’. I consider myself a pretty good kid. We’ve had more alcohol talks than pot talks." 

Mitt Romney is getting a lot of heat for his somewhat awkward comments about women in the workplace during Tuesday night's presidential debate.

The Internet's meme makers made merry with Romney's comment about the "binder full of women" that he sought out to work for him during his stint as Massachusetts governor. Cue the obligatory Ryan Gosling meme.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Voters in Washington are likely to approve two ballot measures that have failed in the past. A new poll shows both charter schools and same-sex marriage are leading by healthy margins.

The KCTS 9 Washington Poll also shows a statistical tie in the Governor’s race between Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna.  

The Seattle Times Company is now actively working to support Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna and gay marriage, part of a push to demonstrate the effectiveness of newspaper political advertising.

Washington state's largest newspaper began with a full-page ad Wednesday calling McKenna "a choice that will make us all proud." The newspaper's editorial board has endorsed McKenna.

Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times

The fifth and final debate between Washington’s candidates for governor was punctuated by personal attacks. Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna met in Seattle Tuesday night. The format encouraged them to engage each other.

One of the most personal exchanges came when the candidates had a chance to pose a question of each other. Republican McKenna asked Inslee to explain why the Democratic candidate has yet to pick up a single daily newspaper endorsement.

Inslee responded that he doesn’t work for the newspapers.