Cornfield: Notes from election night

Voters across the state had their say last week on the cost of car tabs and the resurrection of affirmative action.

Here are some takeaways from the first night of ballot counting.

Tim Eyman is less unpopular than car tabs and Sound Transit

It’s no secret Tim Eyman has bent or broken most every rule in the state’s election conduct rule book. Polls show he’s no longer held in high esteem by most who know of him. But when Eyman gives voters a chance to lower the cost of car tabs — as he did with Initiative 976 — they overlook his unscrupulous behavior to secure the savings. I-976 was passing in 35 of the state’s 39 counties Tuesday night, though it was pretty even in Island and Thurston counties. Close to two-thirds of voters in Snohomish and Pierce counties backed it. A lot of them likely suffered sticker shock following passage of Sound Transit 3 and counted on getting some relief. It didn’t happen. Tuesday they exacted their revenge though Sound Transit lawyers will be busy trying to minimize the damage.

Affirmative action is still a bad idea to many

A generation ago, Washington voters barred the state from using affirmative action in deciding who to hire, admit to public colleges and award contracts. On Tuesday, nearly 52 percent cast ballots to keep the prohibition in place. Voters in 35 counties — the same ones backing I-976 — were rejecting Referendum 88, and by extension Initiative 1000 which seeks to remove the prohibition. Backers of affirmative action weren’t throwing in the towel. Referendum 88’s fortunes hinge on King County, where it enjoys great support and where the largest pile of ballots are left to be counted. But if they come up short, there are rumblings of trying again in 2020.

Columnist Jerry Cornfield can be reached at jcornfield@herald or at @dospueblos on Twitter.