Here are the nine(!) Seattle City Council candidates collecting Democracy Vouchers in District 3

Joy Hollingsworth’s voucher game is strong — the candidate recently paid a visit to Michael Knight’s gym at R3BAR on Capitol Hill (Image: Joy Hollingsworth for Seattle City Council)

Hollingsworth has been fast out of the gate, leading the district — and the entire city — in collected vouchers

Nine candidates have already added their name to the list to replace Kshama Sawant on the Seattle City Council. There could be more by May.

One candidate’s early strong performance in gaining pledges in the city’s publicly funded Democracy Voucher program is a sign of strong support, her campaign said Wednesday:

Joy Hollingsworth for Seattle City Council, running to represent District 3, has received more Democracy Vouchers than any other candidate according to the City of Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission. The Commission, which released the first numbers yesterday since mailing out Vouchers to Seattle voters just two weeks ago, reported 784 Vouchers received by Hollingsworth totaling $19,600. That number is more than any other candidate running for City Council in any district and is more than double the amount received by any other District 3 candidate.

Central District resident and cannabis farming entrepreneur Joy Hollingsworth got a head start on the other D3 candidates with a mid-January launch of her campaign in front of a big crowd at the MLK FAME Community Center in the eastern edges of D3. Later that week, Sawant bowed out and said she would not seek reelection. Continue reading

With her heart on First Hill, Hudson joins race for District 3 with a neighborhood approach to urbanist policy

With love for a home neighborhood at the core of the decision to enter the race, First Hill resident and Transportation Choices Coalition executive director Alex Hudson is running for the District 3 seat on the Seattle City Council.

“When I say that’s the vision for the City of Seattle that my leadership has produced and will continue to produce, I’m not saying that because it’s an urbanist fantasy,” Hudson says of her home turf and its almost one of a kind in Seattle mix of housing types from old mansions to affordable skyscrapers. “I’m saying that because I live in that neighborhood, and I see it, and I’ve helped to build it.”

The leader of the transit policy and advocacy organization and former head of the First Hill Improvement Association says she believes her progressive record of accomplishments in diverse policy areas and ability to build coalitions and find common ground across divides is what the district needs to rebuild hope after years of political battles under Kshama Sawant and in a city facing significant challenges in housing affordability, homelessness, public safety, and the health and vitality of small business districts.

“It is not naive to believe that Seattle’s best days are still in front of us and that there are solutions to these problems that are at our fingers,” Hudson says. “All of this stuff, it feels really hard. It feels really intractable. We can have it and we will have it if we come together, roll up our sleeves, listen to each other, and have a real solution space… we can fix these things and we’re going to.” Continue reading

62% — Sawant ‘no’ on recall tally gets big boost in second day’s count, now trails by less than 300 votes — UPDATE

Sawant on Election Night

In need of claiming 62% of the vote in remaining ballots, Kshama Sawant’s latest election count comeback took shape Wednesday as King County Elections added 7,000 new ballots to its tally in the District 3 recall election with, yes, just over 62% of the latest votes coming in for the “no” camp.

What comes next will be a nail biter — there are around 1,200 ballots left to process. Challenged ballots will also be an important factor.

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Yes on Sawant recall takes commanding 53% lead — Did ‘the biggest get out the vote campaign the city has ever seen’ do enough to catch up? — UPDATE

The masked crowd and media at the Kshama Solidarity event at Chop Suey as Tuesday’s first count came in

The Election Night first count of ballots in the recall of Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant revealed that supporters weren’t kidding when they said they would need “the biggest get out the vote campaign the city has ever seen” to keep the District 3 representative in office.

The first count of the District 3 recall ballots Tuesday night showed “yes” on the recall on top with 53% of the tallied vote, leading by just under 2,000 votes. But those votes and six percentage points may very well be an impossible goal — even with the district’s propensity for left-leaning late votes. The challenge? The first count included 32,000 ballots. King County Elections totals show nearly 35,000 ballots were received as of 6 PM meaning the Sawant camp will need to produce a massive showing for “no” votes as the few thousand remaining ballots are processed. If turnout truly hits 50% as predicted by officials, about 6,000 ballots are up for grabs — Sawant will need more than 67% of them to have voted “no.”

UPDATE 12/8/2021 4:15 PM: 62% — Sawant ‘no’ on recall tally gets big boost in second day’s count, now trails by less than 300 votes: In need of claiming 62% of the vote in remaining ballots, Kshama Sawant’s latest election count comeback took shape Wednesday as King County Elections added 7,000 new ballots to its tally in the District 3 recall election with, yes, just over 62% of the latest votes coming in for the “no” camp. What comes next will be a nail biter — there are only about 1,200 more ballots to process. Challenged ballots will also be an important factor.

UPDATE 12/8/2021 10:15 AM: King County Elections says it expects Wednesday’s count to add 6,000 ballots and subsequent counts to add around another 2,800 putting just under 9,000 ballots in play. With that math, Sawant must claim at least 62% of the remaining vote to retain her seat. Total turnout will have hit 53%.

The final numbers could be a neck and neck race and challenged ballots are likely to take on heightened importance. In early voting, the number of “challenged” ballots over issues like signature matches, disproportionately affected younger voters with more than 2% of ballots returned by voters 25-34 facing challenges vs. less than 1% of those from voters 65+. 18 to 24-year-olds, meanwhile, saw around 4.9% of their ballots challenged. Typically, King County says about 1.5% of ballots will be challenged in any election. Voters will have weeks until certification to verify issues like signature matches but many will not be aware or go through the effort to verify.

CHS discussed the latest updates Wednesday morning with Converge Media’s Morning Update Show:

Tuesday night in front of supporters, Sawant expressed optimism that her past success among late voters would prevail.

“In every one of our elections, there has been a dramatic swing after Election Night in our direction,” Sawant said. “Given the unprecedented nature of this undemocratic December election, while we cannot be sure of the final result, if past trends hold, it appears working people may have prevailed in this fight.”

The next update will come by Wednesday at 4 PM, officials said.

Only voters in District 3 — encompassing Capitol Hill, First Hill, the Central District, Montlake, Madison Valley, and Madison Park — are participating. If the majority of D3 voters choose yes on the recall, the council will select a temporary replacement until the next general election in the city. The winner in that vote next November would finish Sawant’s current term through the end of 2023.

The Kshama Solidarity campaign defending Sawant gathered at Capitol Hill’s Chop Suey for a large event complete with vaccination and mask requirements plus mandatory temperature checks as socialist speakers and community activists took the stage in the lead-up to the first release of numbers to speak out against “corporate landlords” and Seattle Police’s “violations of the Geneva Convention.” “Which side are you on?” one speaker asked.

The Recall Sawant did not publicly announce a location for an Election Night gathering. The campaign stopped replying to CHS’s inquiries this week but has continued to post comments on the news website and on the site’s social media.

“Today is JUDGMENT DAY,” the Recall Sawant Facebook page read Tuesday. “Time for Sawant to face her constituents and be held accountable!!!”

The Kshama Solidarity campaign has been operating in a difficult arena, trying to drive turnout among the district’s youngest, most transient voters with on the ground tactics including “grassroots voting centers” in an unprecedented special election. The December 7th vote has fallen in the middle of the holiday season after the Recall Sawant campaign failed to meet deadlines to be part of the November General Election and decided to target a December vote. Pandemic restrictions have not made things any easier. The Solidarity campaign said one of its biggest challenges was simply informing voters than election was happening. Continue reading

‘Grassroots voting stations’ aren’t illegal — but they are core to the District 3 recall fight

A D3 “grassroots voting station” (Image: @mattcaucus)

In the end, it will add only a percentage point or three to the turnout but these votes are exactly the kind being most contested in the District 3 recall fight over Kshama Sawant.

“These are folks who didn’t know there was an election or people who lost their ballots,” Solidarity spokesperson Bryan Koulouris tells CHS. “Overwhelmingly, they are renters, and overwhelmingly, tend to be supporters.”

Koulouris says the campaign is also highly aware and highly careful about potentially violating voting laws over electioneering.

The Recall Sawant campaign and “yes” supporters say that “grassroots voting stations” being staffed by Kshama Solidarity across District 3 are unethical and should be against the law.

“During the process of downloading, printing, and then filling out, they can’t campaign, can’t urge them how to vote,” Koulouris says of the guidelines being provided about the printing stations.

King County Elections says it began hearing complaints about the ballot printing during the General Election. Elections officials say registered voters are able to access and print their ballot online. “This is primarily for our service and overseas voters, voters with a disability, as well as for local voters who maybe lost their ballot or realized they didn’t receive one at the last minute. It saves folks a trip to a Vote Center,” a statement from KCE reads. Continue reading

SAWANT RECALL: Turnout update, the three charges, and CHS coverage of the City Hall and mayor’s home protests

Sawant speaking during a June 2020 “Defund SPD” protest and march to Mayor Durkan’s house in a demonstration organized by the Seattle Democratic Socialists of America. “The decision by the Seattle Democratic Socialists of America and speakers including Socialist Alternative leader Kshama Sawant to target the mayor’s home and neighborhood struck a personal blow and also flouted Durkan’s efforts to conceal the location of her residence due to concerns about security after her years as a federal prosecutor,” CHS reported at the time.

Turnout has now climbed above 35% in the District 3 recall vote of City Councilmember Kshama Sawant with more than 27,000 ballots already returned. If we reach 50% turnout, that means there are still 11,000 voters yet to cast their ballots. 55%? Around 15,000. A pretty much unheard of 60%? Nearly 20,000.

If you’re part of that group and still weighing the evidence, considering the facts, and calculating the politics, here’s a post of CHS coverage of the latest in the Recall Sawant and Kshama Solidarity campaigns and some of the coverage unique to the CHS archives that documents the very days and actions brought into question by the recall proponents. Continue reading

A new leader in D3 race: incumbent pulls ahead — UPDATE: Sawant declares victory: ‘Our movement has won our socialist office for working people’

UPDATE 11/9/19 10:45 AM: In front of supporters and volunteers who gathered for training on her campaign’s weekend ballot “curing” effort, Kshama Sawant declared victory Saturday morning in the race for the District 3 seat on the Seattle City Council.

“Our movement has won our socialist office, for working people,” she said. “The election results are a repudiation of the billionaire class…and the relentless attacks and lies…and working people have stood up and said Seattle is not for sale!”

“Working people, people of color, young people, came out in huge numbers to vote by overwhelming majority for our socialist politics and against this attempted hostile corporate takeover,” Sawant said to hoots and hollers from the crowd.

The declaration shared across her campaign’s social media accounts marked the end of a week of tallying election results made all the more dramatic by daily updates under Washington’s vote by mail system.

In her statement, Sawant put Seattle’s large companies who opposed her on notice that she does not intend to back down, calling her success in the election “as close a referendum on the Amazon tax as possible.”

She also called the vote “a repudiation of the billionaire class, of corporate real estate, and of the establishment.”

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Reversal of fortune? Sawant makes big leap with thousands of ballots left to count

Turns out, Kshama Sawant’s late voter surge will come early. In only the second day of updates since Election Night, the Socialist Alternative incumbent massively narrowed the lead of challenger Egan Orion.

The race now stands at Orion, 51.0%, Sawant, 48.6%. While he still commands a two-point, 739-vote lead, Orion is now racing against math — and it is not looking good. Continue reading

Latest count shows Sawant shaving small part of big Orion lead

If economist Kshama Sawant is to, indeed, stage an overtime comeback against challenger Egan Orion, it will start as her previous late surges have — with a quiet, subtle reversal of fortune in the first stages of the late vote counts.

Wednesday’s second release of King County results showed Sawant gaining a small amount of ground on her District 3 challenger — but only by falling short a little less painfully than in her surprisingly deep Election Night gap.

With just over another 3,400 ballots counted Wednesday, the race now stands at Orion, 53.8%, Sawant, 45.8%. The gap is down to a flat 8 points — but now more than 1,900 votes separate the candidates.

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