Ballots are coming in, so it’s time for our Divaland Votes Election Guide 2020. We’re closing in on the halfway point of our 60 days of Action, and we’re ready to vote early, along with hundreds of thousands of other U.S. voters.
One of our action items for the 60 days is researching the ballot, and we’re noticing that feels extra tricky this year. With so much debate and bombshell news happening nationally, local measures are getting overlooked.
This presidential election may be of dire importance, but we need to be focused on more than just the White House.
And yes, that can include supporting other U.S. Senate Races that could Flip The Senate Blue. But at the local level, we are excited by the possibility of a more diverse and progressive state legislature. There are other advisory votes and amendments on the WA State ballot, and we are sharing our views on those, too.
First Step : Get A Look At That Ballot
If you haven’t yet received your ballot, but you want to read it over, check out Fuse Washington. This is a great resource with its own endorsements, and it can help you read deeper into every issue.
We agree with them in almost every case—ALMOST. Here’s how we are ordering the Divaland Election Guide 2020, section by section:
- The statewide office races
- The statewide ballot measures
- King County ballot measures
- Selected WA State legislature races
- Congressional races in Districts 1, 7, 8 and 9
Election Guide 2020: Statewide Positions
There are two WA State Supreme Court positions with candidates running unopposed. We don’t cover them, but everyone else is here, and the choices are Dem all the way down. We aren’t blindly voting the party line here, and the Lieutenant Governor race is actually complicated. let’s dive in.
Governor: Vote Jay Inslee
Isn’t it nice to have a governor that believes in science, sustainable energy, and LGBT rights? Let’s stick with that. His opponent is FAR-right wingnut Loren Culp, who has spent most of his campaign attacking mask mandates. Oh, as a sheriff, he also refused to enforce voter-approved restrictions on semi-automatic firearm sales (Initiative 1639). Inslee allll the way.
Lt. Governor: Danny Heck
This is a tricky one. There are two great candidates on the ballot vying to replace outgoing Cyrus Habib, but there is a spoiler here. The GOP has been pushing hard for a write-in candidate, and so we have to be careful.
We endorsed Senator Marko Liias in the primary, and he continues to enjoy the endorsement of the Progressive Voters Guide. However, Congressman Denny Heck feels like the safer bet for us now. Their visions differ slightly, but both have extensive legislative experience and progressive values. What’s most important to us is that ONE of them gets in, and so tactically, we’re endorsing Danny Heck in the general election.
Attorney General: Bob Ferguson
Jay Inslee may have run in the presidential primaries, but at the state level Attorney General Bob Ferguson has done even more to defy and resist Trump. He’s sued the administration of the Orange Menace 80 times and won in all but one completed case. Those cases include fights against inhumane child detention policies and dangerous environmental policies. He’s also been a champion of consumer protection measures.
Ferguson’s challenger Matt Larkin worked in the Bush White House to direct federal funds to religious charities, and he supports Trump’s policies. It is critical that w re-elect Bob Ferguson.
Secretary of State: Gael Tarleton
In election years, the Secretary of State is a truly critical role, and Republican incumbent Kim Wyman has done a shit job. We are not surprised, given how openly hostile the GOP has become toward voting rights.
In 2019, Wyman’s office released a new voter registration database that King County elections director Julie Wise flatly called non-functional. As if that were not enough, Wyman hesitated to support the Washington Voting Rights Act, same-day voter registration, and postage-paid ballots.
We need safe and fair elections more than ever, and the Republicans have proved themselves incapable or even averse to these things. Voting rights org Fair Fight was founded by Stacey Abrams because Georgia’s then-Secretary of State Bryan Kemp basically stole his own gubernatorial election against her.
Long story short: vote Gael Tarleton. The other side simply cannot be trusted. Period.
WA State Treasurer: Mike Pellicciotti
When elected in 2016, the incumbent Duane Davidson became the first Republican WA State Treasurer since 1957. In his term, he has raided rainy day funds while skipping out on 15 out of 18 critical pension meetings. Again… not surprised.
Long-time state legislator and Democratic challenger Mike Pellicciotti is the only rational choice.
WA State Auditor: Pat McCarthy
On the one side, we have the decorated and experienced incumbent Pat McCarthy. Like a proper auditor, McCarthy has pressed for government transparency and accountability, and her office has opened two independent audits of the Employment Security Department, regarding payment delays and fraud.
On the other side, is Republican Chris Leyba, who brings a lack of experience, opposition to stronger campaign finance laws, and praise for Trump’s catastrophic pandemic response.
We know that the Divaland Election Guide 2020 might be juicier if the Republicans weren’t so consistently a bunch of inept, corrupt caricatures, but oh well. Pat McCarthy for the win, please.
Commissioner of Public Lands: Hillary Franz
Democratic incumbent Hillary Franz emphasizes a proactive approach to dealing with the effects of climate change in the region. This year, Franz’ office released a climate resiliency plan that includes massive reforestation and renewable energy expansion in rural Washington.
Republican opponent Sue Kuehl Pederson dismisses climate change as a factor in wildfires, and she wants to increase logging of state forests while rolling back endangered species protections. Seems like someone was clearly rooting for the wrong side when they watched Ferngully.
Superintendent of Public Education: Chris Reykdal
Readers in Divaland know we are deeplky committed to seeing proper funding and real equity in public education. This is a long road to plow, and incumbent Chris Reykdal has been pushing the state legislature to commit to this as well.
As for his challenger… well, our Divaland Election Guide 2020 wouldn’t be complete without a truly creepy, religious hypocrite in the mix. This time it’s Maia Espinoza, who started her campaign to oppose comprehensive sex education in schools. Since then, the Associated Press has found that she has presented false or misleading descriptions of her own education and the organization she leads. She even published a false, nasty voters pamphlet statement attacking Reykdal.
Worst of all, Espinoza is also dangerously pushing for classrooms to reopen fully during the pandemic. Basically, she wants to expose children, teachers and their families to a deadly virus, but not to anything that admits that sex and LGBT people exist. And she’ll say whatever it takes (and apparently even lie) to do it.
WA State Insurance Commissioner: Mike Kreidler
Incumbent Mike Kreidler has had a long career, and we want him to continue to serve WA State. His responses during the pandemic have been very sound, including an emergency order requiring insurance companies to waive copays, coinsurance, and deductibles for COVID-19 testing and office visits.
His challenger is barely worthy of mention, and doesn’t even have a website. He has taken the time to cite Ronald Reagan as inspiration for his would-be role of insurance commissioner—the same Reagan whose administration laughed as thousands and thousand died of AIDS. Hard pass.
State Supreme Court Position 3: Raquel Montoya Lewis
Raquel Montoya Lewis is of the Pueblo of Isleta tribe, the first Native American Justice in Washington, and second Native American state supreme court justice in the nation. She has earned support from many progressive orgs, but some have balked over a recent decision where she sided against nurses deprived of guaranteed workplace protections. Not a perfect record, but far better than her verrry conservative and corporate PAC-funded challenger, Judge Dave Larson.
State Supreme Court Position 3: G. Helen Whitener
Justice G. Helen Whitener was appointed to this position in April, and we are voting to keep her there.She has been endorsed by every current WA Supreme Court Justice and several past justices. She is the first Black justice to sit on WA state’s Supreme Court, she’s openly gay, and a Trinidadian immigrant. We need perspectives like hers at that level.
Her opposition filed to run for the office just weeks after passing the bar exam this spring, and has no experience as a lawyer or judge. Writer Sarah Hagi’s now commonly memed quote really applies here: Lord, grant me the confidence of a mediocre white man.
Election Guide 2020: Statewide Ballot Measures
Good news, readers! We can blaze pretty quickly through this section, though these are important votes, too.
YES on Referendum 90
This upholds the new Washington law (ESSB 5395), which requires public schools to offer age-appropriate, inclusive, comprehensive sex education. The state legislature already passed the law, BUT the state Republican Party, anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-choice groups put sex education up for another vote by placing Referendum 90 on the ballot.
MAINTAIN On All Advisory Votes: #32, #33, #34, and #35
All of these advisory votes just confirm legislation passed at the state level this year, and we approve all of them. Advisory Vote #32 is a plastic bag ban, starting January 1st. This just makes statewide a ban that already exists in 38 municipalities. MAINTAIN.
Advisory Vote #33 is a tax exemption for heavy equipment rental property, balanced by a 1.25% heavy equipment rental tax will be levied to heavy equipment rental starting January 1, 2022. That revenue will be distributed evenly between the multimodal transportation account and the motor vehicle fund created by the legislation. MAINTAIN.
Advisory Vote #34 is for workforce education investment and accountability. It creates an oversight board and a workforce education investment account. It also clarifies some 2019 tax legislation, exempting more than 70,000 small businesses and setting a rate of 1.75% for businesses grossing more than $1 million annually. MAINTAIN.
Advisory Vote #35 averts retaliatory tariff threats against Washington industries. How? Well, a while back, the legislature passed a preferential B&O tax break for the aerospace industry to keep Boeing here. However, it ran afoul of WTO Rules, so Bill ESB 6690 was written to repeal the tax break. It even passed with the support of the aerospace industry to bring the state (and the U.S.) into compliance, so no question… MAINTAIN.
APPROVE Constitutional Amendment #8212
The WA State legislature established the Long-Term Care Trust Act in 2019. It aims to address Washington’s long-term care crisis, and it received overwhelming bi-partisan support. Our nation has a larger healthcare crises, and that is not changing any time soon. For now, WA State can at least be more accountable to the hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians burdened by costly long-term care. APPROVE.
Election Guide 2020: King County Ballot Measures
This list may be longer than the statewide ballot measures, but we’re greenlighting everything on it. We’ll explain a little about each below.
APPROVE King County Charter Amendment #1: Accountability in Jails
This is a VERY basic step toward accountability by the criminal justice system. It demands that all deaths in King County jails receive formal investigations and that families receive legal representation during the inquest. APPROVE.
APPROVE King County Charter Amendment #2: Affordable Housing
King County Charter Amendment 2 allows the county to lease, sell, or convey property for less than full market value if the property will be used for affordable housing. We need long-term affordable housing, and this will open the door for more nonprofits to create that. APPROVE.
APPROVE King County Charter Amendment #3: Inclusive Language
Small, but meaningful. King County Charter Amendment 3 updates the charter to change references of “citizen” to “resident” or “public” depending on the circumstances. This revision would address several references that conveivably exclude non-citizens from access to parts of county government. APPROVE.
APPROVE King County Charter Amendment #4: Police Accountability
Amendment 4 grants the Office of Law Enforcement Oversight (OLEO) subpoena powers over the King County Sheriff’s Office. Despite voters twice approving investigative subpoena powers for OLEO, the police officer’s guild filed labor law complaints to overturn them. This has stripped OLEO of its power and effectiveness.
The contracts for the Sheriff’s Office are still outrageously stacked against oversight. Subpoena powers would still be subject to collective bargaining agreements, but this is a step closer to the accountability we deserve. Cities including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, already have similar oversight agencies with subpoena powers. APPROVE.
APPROVE King County Charter Amendment #5: Police Accountability, Part 2
The King County Sheriff is currently an elected position, and can only be removed from office by election or a recall. That’s extremely rare, and not in line with calls for greater accountability. Charter Amendment #5 increase makes the sheriff’s office accountable to the King County Executive and County Council. They would be appointed by the council, and could be recalled and replaced by the county executive and council. APPROVE.
APPROVE King County Charter Amendment #6: Police Accountability, Part 3
The duties of the sheriff’s office are currently determined by state law. The county charter prohibits the council from decreasing the duties of the sheriff’s office, but Amendment #6 strikes that prohibition. This will allow the council to better establish the structure and duties of the department of public safety and the sheriff’s office. APPROVE.
APPROVE King County Charter Amendment #7: Anti-Discrimination
King County Charter Amendment 7 would prohibit discrimination in county employment and contracting based on a slew of things. It bans discrimination against family caregivers, enlisted military, honorably discharged veterans, and veterans discharged for their sexual orientation or gender identity. APPROVE.
APPROVE King County Proposition #1: Harborview Bond
This tax levy provides additional financial support for Harborview Medical Center, a vital care center in the region. Harborview is the only Level 1 trauma center serving Alaska, Idaho, Montana, and Washington! With increasing regional demand for medical services, behavioral health, and COVID-related visits, Harborview is already operating at nearly 100 percent capacity, and it needs to be prepared for more. APPROVE.
Election Guide 2020: WA State Legislature Races
There are just soooo many races even in just King County, we can’t conceivably cover them all. Here are the three races where we feel the need to weigh in beyond what the Progressive Voter’s Guide may say.
We Support Sherae Lascelles In The 43rd District
Incumbent Frank Copp has a lot of experience, and it is time to let someone else take the reins. Sherae is the face of a younger more progressive wing of our party that Seattle should be electing. VOTE for Sherae Lascelles.
We Support Kirsten Harris Talley In The 37th District
Kirsten Harris-Talley is our choice in our home district, the 37th. Challenger Chukundi Salisbury is also a great candidate, but Kirsten has way more legislative experience and can hit the ground running. VOTE for Kirsten Harris-Talley.
We Support Beth Doglio In The 10th District
We feel like local news source The Stand says it best here:
Although they are both Democratic candidates, voters of the 10th District will have a clear choice between Doglio, who has a record of supporting workers’ interests, and Strickland, who has a history of supporting corporate interests.
State Representative Beth Doglio secured the endorsement of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and earned a perfect 100% voting record on labor issues from the Washington State Labor Council. VOTE for Beth Doglio.
AND So Many More…
If you have read our Get Involved guide for the WA State Elections, you know there are many more candidates that we support. We have an opportunity to see greatly increased diversity and more progressive voices in our state legislature. Opportunity PAC and Black PAC are helping to support these campaigns, and we urge you to donate if you can.
Vote for these candidates if they are in your district, and donate to them if you want to help the cause.
Tanisha Harris, 17th Legislative District (House)
Joy Pratt Stanford, 26th Legislative District (House)
T’wina Nobles, 28th Legislative District (Senate)
Representative Melanie Morgan, 29th Legislative District (Re-Elect for House)
Jamila Taylor, 30th Legislative District (House)
April Berg, 44th Legislative District (House)
Shirley Sutton, 32nd Legislative District (House)
John Lovick, 44th District (Re-Elect for House)
David Hackney, 11th District (House)
Election Guide 2020: Congressional Races In King County
Last but not least, we’ll look at four congressional races that include part of King County. Those are districts 1, 7, 8 and 9, and again, it’s Sanity vs Trumpism. Seriously… some of these challengers are dangerously bad.
District 1: VOTE for Suzan DelBene
Incumbent Suzan DelBene is an advocate for clean energy, reproductive justice, raising the federal minimum wage and comprehensive tax reform. Opponent Jeffrey Beeler opposes not just her and her positions, but even vocally opposes supporting the USPS as it is submarined by Trump’s administration in advance of the elections. VOTE for Suzan DelBene.
District 7: VOTE for Pramila Jayapal
We loooove voting for Pramila Jayapal. She’s an amazing, compassionate leader, and has resisted Trump’s attacks at every turn. Her legacy as the founder of OneAmerica is just one of the many ways she has advanced immigrant and civil rights in WA State and nationally.
It is thus all the more repugnant that her name should even be adjacent to Craig Keller, her Republican opponent. Seriously, he may be one of the worst candidates in our Divaland Election Guide 2020. Keller founded the anti-immigrant hate group Respect Washington, and his platform is more demonization of non-citizens and brown people. Truly loathsome.
VOTE for Pramila Jayapal.
District 8: VOTE for Kim Schrier
Dr. Kim Schrier flipped her seat blue for the first time in 2018, and the GOP is pissed. They have been launching quite a campaign at her, recruiting Jesse Jensen to run. He supports Trump’s trillion-dollar tax giveaways to corporations and the wealthy while opposing environmental protections and investments in Black and brown communities.
Kim Schrier used her first term to promote sustainable agriculture, common sense gun legislation, election integrity safeguards, and ecological protections. As the only woman doctor in Congress, her perspective is uniquely valuable during a pandemic. Through her first term, Schrier held more than 50 town hall forums for her constituents, a number that would be even higher were it not for the pandemic.
VOTE for Kim Schier.
District 9: VOTE for Adam Smith
Last but not least is Adam Smith, running for re-election in the 9th district. He represents a district that is 30% immigrants, and his policies have been supportive of these communities. Smith supports Medicare for All, tax code reform, and clearer, broader paths to citizenship for immigrants.
His challenger is Doub Basler, a Trumpist who has promoted conspiracy theories about the Coronavirus. He’s also the worst sort of “my body, my choice” hypocrite, aggressively attacking mask mandates, but also vehemently opposing reproductive rights. This will be his fourth consecutive time running against Smith, having run and failed in 2014, 2016, and 2018. Let’s make it four loses in a row. VOTE for Adam Smith.
Thank You For Reading Our Divaland Votes Election Guide 2020
Phew! What a ballot, but what an opportunity for WA State voters to push for progress on so many fronts. Now let’s look at what else you can do before and after voting.
- Have money to donate to help flip the US Senate Blue? Read our Senate Donation Guide 2020.
- Want some inspiration to keep you engaged in the last month of election season? Read our 60 Days of Actions – Divaland Votes Guide
- Listen to our Podcast: Chavi Talks About Actions We Can Do and Indivisible Plus WA talks about fighting voter suppression and more
Vote in all of these important races, work to put progressive people in office statewide and and nationally, and approve all the ballot measures. Voting is just the start, and we hope this guide keeps you informed and inspired. Let’s do this, Divaland!