Early ballot returns suggest Clark County voters will reject a proposal on the ballot Tuesday that would have potentially allocated funds for police body cameras.
As of Wednesday morning, nearly 56% of voters spurned Proposition 10. By voters, the margin stands at about 6,700 votes. Elections officials don’t expect updated numbers until Wednesday afternoon.
The proposition would have raised sales taxes to fund jails and juvenile detention facilities. The Clark County Council contended those revenues would have freed up funds to equip the Clark County Sheriff’s Office with body cameras.
Opponents criticized the effort as a questionable way to purchase the cameras.
Incumbents lead Vancouver council races
In Vancouver, election results Wednesday morning showed voters giving strong support to two incumbents on City Council. Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle and Erik Paulsen both led their challengers by commanding margins.
“I know this is an exceptional win,” McEnerny-Ogle said, who led former Clark County Republican Party Chairman Earl Bowerman by more than 30 percentage points.
Looking toward a second term, McEnerny-Ogle said the city’s agenda includes breaking ground on a new Interstate 5 bridge, providing more solutions for homelessness, and equipping the Vancouver Police Department with body-worn and dashboard cameras.
“All of those projects — whether it’s the I-5 bridge, or homelessness, or police and camera programs and all of the work we’ve been doing to help our community — it just means we get to move forward with it,” McEnerny-Ogle said. “How wonderful. That’s great. We’re excited.”
For the council’s two open seats, Diana Perez and John Blom took early leads.
Perez, who would become the council’s only person of color, led her opponent by 20 percentage points.
Blom is a former Clark County councilor who lost his seat when he dropped his Republican affiliation. He led Kim Harless 51% to 48% as of Wednesday morning.
Washington state ballots must be postmarked – not received – by Election Day, so final vote counts could shift as ballots continue to arrive by mail.
School board races test ‘critical race theory’ platform
A handful of races for open school board seats in Clark County tested whether opposing equity issues and so-called “critical race theory” could be a winning platform in their respective districts. So far, results are mixed.
Critical race theory is an advanced academic concept that shows systemic racism is inherent in American society. Critics have used the term as an inaccurate catch-all to characterize lessons and policies related to race and equity in K-12 schools.
Many of the candidates who raised equity and critical race theory in their campaigns trailed in early results.
For a seat on Battle Ground School District, three candidates — Jenny Price, Ted Champine, and Chloe Seppala — each said opposing critical race theory was a fundamental part of their campaign, according to statements they made in the voters pamphlet. So far, Price and Seppala both trail by double digits. Champine leads Diane Langan, who unexpectedly died in September, according to The Reflector newspaper.
Trish Huddleston, a candidate for Woodland School District who said “critical race theory is dangerous and does not belong in our schools” has just a six-vote lead on challenger Tammy Graham. Meanwhile, in Washougal, Janice D’Aloia trials incumbent Chuck Carpenter by more than 200 votes — a 9 percentage point gulf.
In Clark County’s biggest school districts, where protests at school board meetings have also become common over mask and vaccine mandates and equity issues, voters are favoring incumbents. Both Evergreen and Vancouver school districts had two incumbents on the board who held sizeable leads in early results.
Vancouver School District Board Chair Kyle Sproul said after months of heightened tensions, she viewed the results as vindication. Opponents to equity issues and mandates didn’t sway the public, according to Sproul.
“It’s a loud voice, but it’s a minority voice,” she said.