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Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Washington voters are narrowly passing a class-size measure that comes with a multi-billion dollar price tag.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Voter turnout in Washington state could be a 36-year low. Not since 1978 has such a small percentage of registered voters participated in a Washington election. 

The year 1978 was when Washington voters approved a ban on mandatory busing. That year, just 52percent of registered voters cast a ballot. Turnout this year in on tract to beat that, at 54 percent — 8 points lower than Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman projected back in September.

Secretary of State's Office

After a second day of vote counting, an initiative that would limit class sizes in Washington state is still virtually tied.

The measure is passing in some of the state's largest counties, including King and Pierce counties, but it is failing in most other places.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The Republican capture of the U.S. Senate was the big national news on election night. But in the Northwest, the toughest fights weren’t over Senate seats but ballot initiatives — on guns, pot and genetically-engineered foods.

Here's what you need to know, in 60 seconds: 

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Washington Democrats appear to have failed in their bid to retake control of the state Senate. Early election returns Tuesday night showed Republicans holding onto their majority. Republicans were also poised to pick up seats in the Democratically-controlled Washington House. 

Joe Polimeni / General Motors/AP Photo

Seattle voters widely approved a proposition to pay for Metro transit, even though the funding crisis that motivated the measure has subsided.

The transit measure will add $60 to Seattleites’ car tabs and raise the sales tax by 0.1 percent.

CSIS / Flickr

Voters have returned Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen to Congress.

Larsen defeated Republican B.J. Guillot on Tuesday to represent the 2nd Congressional District.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Four incumbent state Supreme Court justices have been re-elected.

Justice Mary Yu ran unopposed to fill out the two years remaining in the term of retired Justice James Johnson. Yu is a former King County Superior Court judge who was appointed to the high court by Gov. Jay Inslee In May. Yu is the first openly gay justice, as well as the first Asian American, to serve on the Supreme Court.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene has clinched a second term to represent Washington state's redrawn 1st Congressional District.

DelBene, a former Microsoft executive, defeated Republican challenger Pedro Celis, a retired Microsoft engineer on Tuesday.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Washington voters have overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to expand background checks for person-to-person gun sales and transfers. Initiative 594 passed with 60 percent of the vote.

At the I-594 victory party in Seattle, campaign manager Zach Silk fired up the crowd.

“Washington state has voted yes on 594 and closed the background check loophole,” Silk said.

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has declared victory for Proposition 1B, an initiative he himself supported to establish a subsidized preschool program.

The mayor made the announcement around 8:30 p.m. election night, shortly after early returns showed Prop. 1B leading with 67 percent of the votes over Proposition 1A.

Prop. 1B's pilot program would eventually cover preschool tuition for up to 2,000 low-income kids through a four-year property tax hike.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The campaigns are winding down. The ballot counting is about to begin. But in Washington state, we may not know the results of close races until later this week.

Washington State Legislature

Washington state has strict campaign contribution limits. But candidates and political donors are experts at finding ways around those caps.

One way they do this is through a practice called surplussing.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The current and former attorneys general of Washington state are among the subjects of a New York Times special report. The Times story details how companies under investigation by state AGs try to influence those cases. It also reveals how former AGs gain special access as industry representatives.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Republicans say an out-of-state Democratic group is trying to suppress the GOP vote in a hotly-contested Washington state Senate race.

The state Republican Party filed a formal election complaint Tuesday against a group called American Values First. 

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

The secretary of state's office says that 10.6 percent of voters have mailed back their ballots in advance of next Tuesday's election.

In an email sent Monday, spokesman David Ammons said that of the more than 3.9 million ballots that have been sent to Washington state voters, as of Monday, just over 417,000 ballots have been returned.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School Friday comes as Washington voters are about to decide two competing gun-related ballot measures.

In fact, next week two parents who lost children in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are scheduled to be in Seattle to campaign for Initiative 594, which would expand background checks.

Democrats are eager to win back control of the state Senate in Washington. That means they need to take two seats from the Republican majority. One of the most hotly contested races is Whatcom County’s 42nd District, where incumbent Republican Doug Ericksen faces Democrat challenger Seth Fleetwood

It’s more conservative than a traditional swing district. But outside money is pouring, in and framing this contest as a battle over environmental interests. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Two northwestern states are considering whether to follow Washington’s lead and legalize recreational marijuana. Oregon and Alaska will each take up the question on Nov. 4, and both ballot measures reflect lessons learned here.

There are plenty of different approaches to legalizing recreational marijuana, but for starters, there are basically two options on the menu: Colorado and Washington. So which one is more appealing to our neighbor states?

mathteacherguy / Flickr

Political campaigns and committees in Washington have spent nearly $70 million so far this year. That includes statewide initiatives and legislative races.

So where’s all the money going? It’s everything from address labels to Zipcar rentals.

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Seattle voters will have to choose between two ballot measures that both aim to help improve education for preschoolers, but in different ways.

The city’s plan, Proposition 1B, would set up a pilot program of subsidized preschool using a property tax levy.

The competing measure, Proposition 1A, is sponsored by two unions, Service Employees International Union Local 925 and American Federation of Teachers, a national teachers’ union affiliated with AFL-CIO.

Prop. 1A calls for a quicker path to a minimum wage of $15 an hour for child care teachers and would set a city policy that states no family should have to spend more than 10 percent of the household income on child care.

One other provision that’s drawn less attention is a plan to set up a system of training in which the unions would play a bigger role. 

Ed Ronco / KPLU

Seattle voters have a monorail proposal on their ballots this year. The city's last public monorail effort died in 2005. Now, supporters hope to revive the idea.

Harvey Barrison / Flickr

The top political spenders in Washington this election year include environmentalists, unions, trial lawyers and business interests.

But there’s a group of influential players who don’t necessarily show up in the campaign finance reports: lobbyists. They often work behind the scenes to guide campaign contributions on behalf the interests they work for. It’s another way that lobbyists exert their influence over the political process.

Seth Perlman / AP Photo

There are two gun initiatives on the Washington ballot. Initiative 594 and Initiative 591 both have to do with background checks on gun buyers.

The battle over the initiatives is a classic fight between gun control advocates who say more regulation will limit gun violence and gun rights activists who fear a loss of their Second Amendment “right to bear arms.”

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

We’re just about two weeks away from the 2014 election. It’s not a presidential election year, but there are several big issues on the ballot that have attracted big money to try to get your vote. Those issues include gun sales, class size and control of the state Senate.

Here’s a quick look at what’s on your ballot, what’s at stake and what it’s costing.

Oran Viriyincy / Flickr

Imagine commuting by bus in Seattle without any need for a bus schedule app on your phone or a paper one in your pocket. This is what Scott Kubly, the new head of Seattle’s Department of Transportation, envisions if voters approve Proposition 1, giving the city more than $40 million a year to invest in Metro Transit.

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

Starting in January, Washington lawmakers will be barred from accepting more than 12-lobbyist-paid meals per year. The state’s Legislative Ethics Board adopted that limit today after months of public hearings and deliberation.

The issue of free meals first came to light in May of last year when we, in partnership with the Associated Press, reported on the practice of lawmakers letting lobbyists pick up the tab.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A ballot measure to expand background checks for gun sales in Washington has lost some support, but still enjoys a healthy lead, according to the latest Elway Poll released Monday.

Meanwhile, a competing gun rights measure appears to be in trouble.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Election 2014 is less than a month away. 

Ballots will soon be arriving in mailboxes in Washington and Oregon where the election is all vote-by-mail. Idaho voters still go to the polls, but about a quarter of Gem State ballots are cast absentee.

Gosia Wozniacka / AP Photo

Oregon’s first lady said she committed a federal crime 17 years ago. Cylvia Hayes told reporters Thursday that she married a man for the sole purpose of helping him get a green card.

She said the confession came as a surprise even to the man who, this summer, became her fiancé: the governor of Oregon.

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