Today, August 7, in the states of Washington, Ohio, Michigan and Missouri, residents will decide on several local issues.
In Washington, fifteen counties have items on their election ballot. One notable measure is a vote in King County concerning the local youth center. The measure seeks to increase the current property tax rate in order to help pay for rebuilding and refurbishing the current center. Those in favor believe the facility badly needs upgrades to ensure that services are up to current standards. On the other hand opponents state that funds could be used elsewhere and higher taxes lead to further burdens on residents.
In Ohio, thirty counties have posted information about issues on their ballots for the election. A measure in the Buckeye Valley School District will let voters decide on a combined income tax and bond measure option. The income tax would go towards school operational costs and the bond would go towards paying for a new school facility as well as renovation coats.
In Michigan, forty counties posted information about local issues for the August 7 ballot. A notable measure is in the city of Detroit where the Detroit Institute of Arts is seeking to have its own permanent levy to fund services and programs. Those in favor of the levy have stated that with a dedicated levy, the museum would not have to worry about funding. Opponents have stated that those who use the museum should pay and that it would not be beneficial to residents to have further tax increases in the city.
In Missouri, several counties have posted election information, and in Springfield. two proposed charter amendments are of significance to future petitions in the city. One seeks to change the signature requirement amount for proposed petitions in the city. The amendment would make it so that there would need to be signatures from 7 percent of all total registered voters for a petition to be valid. The current requirement is 10 percent of voters who participated in the last election. Opponents to the amendment have stated that this would result in a more difficult path to the ballot for initiative proposals, while proponents have stressed that this will encourage those wanting to place issues on a future ballot to work harder for the extra signatures.
Results for these measures will be posted on Ballotpedia as soon as they are reported by County officials. Results for all other measures on the ballot will be available in the days following the election.
- See also: School bond and tax elections in Washington
Washington State is one of eleven states that has a debt limit protected by the Washington Constitution. Washington mandates that school districts can only take in one percent for general debt and up to five percent for capital outlays without voter approval. Washington State requires a election for all bond issues exceeding three-eights of one percent of taxable property. School districts are treated equally with other units of municipal government in the state's bond issue laws. Bond issues can be used for capital improvements and new construction only. School districts cannot use bonds to retire debt or fund other obligations.
- See also: Laws governing recall in Washington
The citizens of Washington are granted the authority to perform a recall election by Sections 33 and 34 of Article I of the Washington State Constitution to all elective officers of the state of Washington except judges of courts of record.
A petition for recall must include a specified number of valid signatures from registered voters determined as a percentage of total votes cast for all candidates who ran for the office in the most recent election contest. This amounts to:
- 25 percent for state officers, other than judges, senators and representatives; city officers of cities of the first class; school district boards in cities of the first class; county officers in counties of the first, second and third classes,
- 35 percent for officers of all other political subdivisions, cities, towns, townships, precincts, and school districts not otherwise mentioned; and state senators and representatives.
The Spokane County government is looking to change the way initiatives are conducted in their county. One proposed change is that a city attorney would instead write the ballot question that would appear, instead of those petitioning for the initiative. Another proposed change would be that the title of the proposed measure would have to be approved before signatures could be collected. Opponents say this would not give enough time to collect signatures, but the city said they would be allowed 12 months to collect in case the name approval took a while. Supports say that this process is based on the state's process and would rather clarify the issues and ensure ballot language is clear for all voters to understand. Opponents state that the city writing the language of the measure would introduce a bias, but city council members feel it would rather help not hinder the process.