Measure to expand gun background checks passes

Washington voters on Tuesday were passing a measure that would seek universal background checks on all gun sales and transfers. I-594 would also require background checks on private transactions and many loans and gifts.

Voters were against I-591, which would prevent the state from expanding checks beyond the national standard.

At 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, the I-591 count was 55 percent no and 45 percent yes. The I-594 count was 60 percent yes and 40 percent no.

Leading the fight for more background checks was Cheryl Stumbo, victim and survivor of the fatal shooting at the Jewish Federation of Seattle eight years ago.

"We've had a logjam for decades, because the NRA and the gun lobby have had a stranglehold on our legislators at the state and federal levels," she said Tuesday night. "This is the first chink in the armor. This is the first time we're seeing a vote by the people can overcome that logjam."

"Now, we're going to be able to find out those cases that don't go through the background check. They're going to stand out like a sore thumb."

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Like federal law, Washington law currently requires checks for sales or transfers by licensed dealers but not for purchases from private sellers, like those who sell at gun shows or to friends.

No other state has a gun-related measure on the ballot this year, and millions of dollars have been pouring into the state, mostly in support of expanding background checks. I-591 also would prohibit the confiscation of firearms without due process.

Class size

Initiative 1351, which would limit class size, was in a dead heat Tuesday night, with 49 percent for and 51 percent against.

State financial experts believe I-1351 would eventually cost the state about $2 billion a year to pay for thousands more teachers and other school staff.

Washington voters overwhelmingly approved another class size reduction initiative in 2000, and 14 years later, lawmakers are just starting to pay that bill. This initiative is different, in both its scope and the way it was written. Initiative 1351 would set lower class sizes at every grade level. The previous initiative focused on the youngest grades.


Larsen back in

Voters returned Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen to Congress. Larsen defeated Republican B.J. Guillot on Tuesday to represent the 2nd Congressional District.

The 2nd District spans the northern part of western Washington from north King County to just north of Bellingham, and includes the San Juan Islands. Larsen has represented the district since 2001.

Newhouse, Didier too close to call

We will have one new member of Congress from Washington but the race is too close to call. Republican Dan Newhouse was leading Tuesday night over fellow Republican Clint Didier in the 4th Congressional District in Central Washington.

That race had a four-point margin.

DelBene wins redrawn 1st District seat

Democratic U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene clinched a second term to represent Washington state's redrawn 1st Congressional District.

DelBene, a former Microsoft executive, defeated Republican challenger Pedro Celis, a retired Microsoft engineer.

Washington's 1st Congressional District was drawn up during the latest redistricting process to be a tossup for Republicans and Democrats.

Seattle transit measure passing

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared victory on Transit Proposition 1, which would raise funds for Metro transit by boosting sales taxes by 0.1 percent and impose a $60 annual car-tab fee.

"Better transit will help everyone who lives, works or visits Seattle, while helping us grow our economy, reduce traffic delays and protect our environment," said Murray. "This funding will help us improve bus service to South Lake Union, West Seattle, Ballard, UW and neighborhoods throughout the city."

Vote count updates once daily

Washington, like Oregon, is an all vote-by-mail state. But unlike Oregon - where ballots have to be received by Election Day - in Washington, ballots just have to be postmarked no later than Election Day or placed in an official ballot drop box by 8 p.m. Tuesday. That means that in some of the more competitive races, results may not be known for days as most counties will update vote counts only once a day.


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