Wednesday Jolt: Students, Evidently, Do Vote
Two winners today: Student voters and bike advocates.
Today's winner: UW Students
UW students made a statement this year. And no, it's not just that the marijuana legalization measure passed.
It's that students voted. In big numbers. At least judging by the returns at the temporary ballot drop box stationed on campus at Red Square. 9,079 ballots were cast. Students believe it proves that the UW should have a permanent drop box on campus.
Associated Students of the UW Office of Government Relations Director Angie Weiss says: "We hope that the high turnout from this election shows that a lot of people at UW want to vote, and that this makes the case that a permanent ballot box on campus will increase access to voting."
The temporary ballot drop box on campus got 9,079 ballots, while the permanent one in Magnuson Park got nearly 1,600 less—7,487.
Last year, after the drop box at 50th and the Ave. was replaced with one at Magnuson Park, students clamored for a drop box on campus and King County Elections promised they'd have one by 2012.
The students got the temporary ballot drop location this year—a van that parked on Red Square equipped with ballot boxes. Unlike permanent drop boxes, though, like the one at Magnuson Park, the van was only on campus between 10 am and five pm each day, and seven am to eight pm on Election Day.
In comparison, the new 24-hour location at Magnuson Park got nearly 1,600 less ballots.
King County Elections spokeswoman Kim van Ekstrom says KC Elections will dissect the data, but that the temporary vans "are not a commitment for a permanent ballot box."
Today's Other Winner: Bike Advocates
Fully 97 percent of survey respondents said they supported continuing the shared-use trail all the way to Capitol Hill via the Portage Bay Bridge.
Bike advocates are gearing up to pressure the state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to build a major new bike connection between the new 520 bridge and Capitol Hill and, although WSDOT's current plans still don't include a shared-use trail across Portage Bay and up Capitol Hill for which groups like Cascade Bicycle Club are advocating, the bike advocates have public opinion on their side: According to surveys, emails, and public comments WSDOT has received about the proposal, the overwhelming majority of respondents said they support a major new shared-use bike/pedestrian trail on the bridge.
And we mean overwhelming: According to WSDOT, fully 97 percent of survey respondents said they supported continuing the shared-use trail all the way to Capitol Hill via the Portage Bay Bridge. Public opinion doesn't always sway policy, of course, but in this case, it could be hard to ignore.