Three measures on ballots today are particularly worth watching.
Two issues in Washington State represent the only citizen-initiated measures out of 32 propositions voters will see in eight states: Washington Referendum 88 allows voters to re-decide the issue of racial and gender preferences, so-called “affirmative action,” while Washington Initiative 976 offers voters a chance to cap their vehicle taxes.
More than two decades ago, in 1998, Washingtonians passed Initiative 200 to end racial and gender preferences in state employment and education. This year, the state legislature enacted a virtual repeal of I-200, by allowing the state to employ such a preference provided it was not the “only factor” used.
Washington’s vibrant Asian-American community, which stands to be discriminated against should affirmative action return, rose up to petition Referendum 88 onto the ballot. A “yes” vote upholds the legislature’s new pro-preference policy; a “no” vote restores the prior voter-enacted policy prohibiting such preferences.
Initiative 976 is yet another effort from Tim Eyman, the state’s most prolific initiative practitioner. “This measure,” as the official summary states, “would repeal or remove authority to impose certain vehicle taxes and fees; limit state and local license fees to $30 for motor vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less, except charges approved by voters . . .”
Like virtually every Eyman initiative, powerful opponents have dramatically outspent supporters — by greater than a 6-to-1 margin — funding ads that have been less than truthful. Additionally, government officials have broken campaign laws in pushing a “no” vote.
Nonetheless, a mid-October poll showed 48 percent of voters support I-976 against 37 percent who oppose it. Could Eyman again thwart the state’s behemoth Blue Establishment?
Lastly, New York City voters will decide a ballot question on whether to use ranked choice voting in future primary and special elections for mayor, city council and other offices. It would mark a major victory for a reform growing in popularity.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.