LETTER: Annexation Election Should be Held in November, Not August


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Open Letter to the Burien City Council:

I wanted to reiterate the fact that if the council truly wants to encourage the maximum number of people to vote on the annexation of Area Y, then the vote should be held in November NOT August.

Holding it in August guarantees a small turnout and minimum voter participation.

Holding it a couple of months later in November guarantees much larger voter participation.

The danger of holding it in August is that minimal voter participation can enable special interest and small vocal minorities to hi-jack democracy in the name of whatever reasons can be drudged up to justify holding an election guaranteed to have a small turnout.

Apparently ALL or MOST of those minority special interests were present at the council meeting on Monday voicing their opposition to larger voter participation and pushing for an August vote.

It is obvious that these special interests are concerned that the election will go against them if the election is held in November, because they cannot be guaranteed as much control since the voter pool would be much larger.

It is reasonable and obvious that holding the election a couple of months later would result in a much more democratic result as the special interests would have less influence on the much larger pool of voters.

What is not obvious is how many members of the council are ok with this. I guess we will find out in the near future whether democracy or cronyism will win out.

I also agree with Ms. Wagner who pointed out that since council member Robison is the acting attorney for the above mentioned special interests he should recuse himself from the vote.

Very Sincerely,
John Poitras

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Comments

12 Responses to “LETTER: Annexation Election Should be Held in November, Not August”
  1. The problem with postponing until November is that the city promised County Executive Dow Constantine, County Council member Joe McDermott as well as the KCLS board (Burien Council memeber Lucy Krakowiak is a member) that Burien would resolve the annexation question as quickly as possible.

    One of the main concerns and points that the KCLS board had was that they had not seen movement on annexation.

    Postponing until November gives them the excuse they need to shut down the libraries. IF they are intent on shutting down the libraries I don’t feel Burien should give them the excuse they’re looking for.

    Joey Martinez (copy/pasted comment from another article Mr Poitras wrote earlier today)

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    • William Forest says:

      Yeah right Joey..

      Your excuses for voter suppression ring hollow!

      These suppositions on your part are NOT a good reason to subvert democracy…

      Annexation is for THE PEOPLE decide and the more people that vote the more democratic the result.

      Artificial timelines or agenda’s of politicians as you portray them take a back seat to Democracy and I have no doubt the politicians you mention would agree with that.

      Also speaking to your main point >>>holding the election in August vs November will have zero impact on whether King County decides to build a new library.

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    • Coverofnight says:

      Joey, I gotta go along with Mr. Forest’s arguments here…..by the way, did I see on a Facebook posting that you were appointed to the Planning Commission? And if so, did I miss something in the BTB about it? Was it announced anywhere? Please clarify; thanks.

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      • Joey Martinez says:

        CON, I definitely understand the argument that William and John are trying to make. I’ve gone on record many times that I would love near 100% participation.

        At the same time, I see this as an opportunity for “both sides” to get active and get out the vote. I believe that this will invigorate people to knock on doors, and to try and convince people to vote yes/no on the question. The 2009 off year primary vote was low, yes. However, on year primaries have historically shown to have a similar turn-out to off year general elections. This will definitely serve as an opportunity to increase the local numbers further.

        And yes, I applied and was appointed to the planning commission starting April 1st. Burien komo covered it. The story is also on the city website and Ralph mentions it in the followup story to Mondays meeting.

        Joey Martinez

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  2. Bob Price says:

    Mr Poltras’s letter stating reasons to change any area Y vote to November because he feels that a August date will favor the annexation favors. First of all it is very difficult to get the voters out at any time. The Burien City Council voters were even in a short % of the people registered to vote in that election.. Also most of the voting is now done with mail in ballets. Therefore the time frame should not any great effect on what happens. Also Mr Poltras and his wife have been saying that the Highline Area Unincorparated Council does not represent the people of Highline due a small voter turn out. I helped the HAUC vote planning and completion for the past 10 years. We have done everything possible to get the voters informed and out to vote. We have gone to almost every meeting in the area for 2 months prior to the vote and have asked the people to vote. We have also contacted some of the schools and asked that parents be told about the election. We have talked to several PTAs and posted notices in all the local news papers and on bulletin boards at the super markets and the libraries. I don’t think that it is right to accuse the Highline council of misduct because the people fail to exercise their right to vote. If they have any way short of sending thugs to every voters home to get the vote out I would certainly like to know about it. I have spent many hours working to get the voters out and they do not show up? Changing the vote date from August to November should not make any difference if the voters exercise their right to vote when it is scheduled. Thanks. Bob Price

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  3. William Forest says:

    Bob…

    Your efforts to get out the vote are to be applauded however your analysis is flawed.
    The only other annexation vote was in 2009 (in august) and the turnout was abysmal. The turnout was only 23% of eligible voters.. It did not even come close to the 35% turnout predicted by Burien.
    One significant factor was WHEN it was held.. It was held during august when many people are out of town.

    http://www.b-townblog.com/2009/08/19/big-day-at-city-hall-as-burien-celebrates-successful-annexation-vote-special-council-meeting-is-aug-24th/

    Holding it in NOVEMBER when people are engaged in voting for president will certainly assist in increasing the voter participation of the annexation election.
    On the other side of the coin anyone who is adverse to spending the time to vote will most likely skip an august election because they are voting in November and many people will LOGICALLY expect to be able to vote on annexation at the same time as all the other elections are being held.

    As far as the inference you are saying was implied by the letter, I did not read it that way at all. Perhaps you are being a little too defensive?
    It is a fact however from what I can gather that the members of the unincorporated highline council are there as representatives of miniscule voter participation.
    So in effect perhaps they don’t really represent the majority of the residents as fully as they would want you to believe.

    To sum up .. all evidence indicates that holding an election is August will produce very very low turnout and on the other hand there is no evidence that holding it in November when we are electing a president will not produce a much larger voter turnout…>>>Its seems like a no brainer to me that it would.

    Regardless we should err on the side of what is more likely to produce a democratic result which means holding it in November not August.

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    • jim clingan says:

      Actually, Mr. Forest, the turnout in August, 2009 was nearly 40% according to the King County Election website. Your statement about voter participation is true. More people do vote in the general than in the primary. What you may be overlooking, however, is that many do not vote the complete ballot in the general elections. Sure, they vote for President, Governor and a few others. But many people do not vote the entire ballot. A little research will show the “falloff” as you go down the ballot.

      Ultimately, whether an election takes place in August or November, those voters who consider annexation an important issue will have the chance to vote. The ballots are mailed almost three weeks prior to the election. If annexation is important to a voter on vacation, they can have their ballot forwarded. It’s not that difficult, if annexation is important to the voter.

      One last question, Mr. Forest, if I might. Were you ever able to locate the White Center Library in White Center?

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      • william forest says:

        Mr Clingan … would you post a link to your stats like I did… I quote >>>
        “Ballots counted on election night represent slightly more than 23 percent of registered voters in the part of the North Highline unincorporated area that will be annexed – 1,491 ballots out of 6,384 registered voters – with 862 yes votes and 603 no votes. Election officials predicted that about 35 percent of registered voters would cast ballots in the primary”.

        Empirical evidence shows that voter participation in August will be much lower than if was held in November.. What are you afraid of..? I realize democracy can be a scary thing but really there is nothing to be afraid of but a more representative vote of the peoples wishes.

        Your justification that many people do not vote the entire ballot is laughable. I think its a no brainer that almost everyone in area Y, that votes, will cast a yay or nay vote on annexation.
        It sounds like you are affiliated with one of the special interests that is not interested in holding the election in November when the voter pool will be larger and maybe concerned that the majority of those won’t buy into the hype of the special interest group you are part of?

        I don’t understand the comment about the library since its another propaganda myth from the special interest groups designed to distract from the main issue of annexation since King County will do what it has to do based on population density regardless of what happens with annexation because that is their mandate. I really have no opinion one way or the other on the library dispute because its irrelevant to the topic at hand.

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      • william forest says:

        Mr Clingan … would you post a link to your stats like I did… I quote >>>
        “Ballots counted on election night represent slightly more than 23 percent of registered voters in the part of the North Highline unincorporated area that will be annexed – 1,491 ballots out of 6,384 registered voters – with 862 yes votes and 603 no votes. Election officials predicted that about 35 percent of registered voters would cast ballots in the primary”.

        Empirical evidence shows that voter participation in August will be much lower than if was held in November.. What are you afraid of..? I realize democracy can be a scary thing but really there is nothing to be afraid of but a more representative vote of the peoples wishes.

        Your justification that many people do not vote the entire ballot is laughable. I think its a no brainer that almost everyone in area Y, that votes, will cast a yay or nay vote on annexation.
        It sounds like you are affiliated with one of the special interests that is not interested in holding the election in November when the voter pool will be larger and maybe concerned t

        I don’t understand the comment about the library since its another propaganda myth from the special interest groups designed to distract from the main issue of annexation since King County will do what it has to do based on population density regardless of what happens with annexation because that is their mandate. I really have no opinion one way or the other on the library dispute because its irrelevant to the topic at hand.hat the majority of those won’t buy into the hype of the special interest group you are part of?

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  4. In the first, Mr Poitras states that this vote should not be on the ballot – essentially “they” should not have a chance to vote for or against annexation.

    In the second letter Mr Poitras says that the vote should be on the ballot in November so “they” can ALL vote, or at least alot more of them.

    I just wanted to make sure I was clear in my understanding on both letters.

    Joey Martinez

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    • John Poitras says:

      BOTH are true Joey…

      The first letter shows that the city staff have not met the minimum requirements needed to go forward with the ballot at this time. 10 reasons were given.
      However IF those requirements were satisfied then annexation should be put on the ballot. Also, in the interest of democracy to give the maximum amount of voters an opportunity to voice their preference the vote should be in NOVEMBER not August.
      In effect delaying the decision until minimum requirements are met which are spelled out in the first letter the vote would need to be scheduled in November.
      Either or both would result in justice and democracy being better served.

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  5. Barbara says:

    it would be good for everyone’s benefit if people used actual facts. The counts referred to regarding the 2008 August election in one of the above comments: 862 yes and 603 no, were the election night counts. The final vote counts were: 1,380 yes and 1,104 no.

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