Fifteen statewide ballot measures were on the ballot in Washington on November 5, including three binding statewide ballot measures and 12 non-binding tax advisory votes.
Citizen initiated measures:
Referendum 88, which was rejected, was a statewide vote on I-1000 (an initiative to allow affirmative action that was approved by the legislature). A yes vote on R-88 was a vote to approve I-1000 and allow affirmative action policies in Washington, and a no vote on R-88 was a vote to reject I-1000 and continue to ban preferential treatment, restricting certain affirmative action policies in Washington. As of November 12, the vote on R-88 was 49.49% in favor to 50.41% against. An estimated 48,000 ballots were left to be counted, but most of them were in counties that had opposed to I-1000 according to already counted ballots.
Initiative 976 was approved. It was designed to (1) limit annual license fees for vehicles weighing under 10,000 pounds at $30 except voter-approved charges; (2) base vehicle taxes on the Kelley Blue Book value rather than 85% of the manufacturer’s base suggested retail price; and (3) repeal authorization for certain regional transit authorities, such as Sound Transit, to impose motor vehicle excise taxes. As of November 12, the vote on I-976 was 53.01% in favor to 46.99% against. King County, Seattle, and Sound Transit had announced their intentions to file lawsuits over Initiative 976.
The state legislature referred one constitutional amendment to the 2019 ballot. The amendment was approved. It authorized the Washington State Legislature to pass bills that address the succession of powers and duties of public offices when the offices’ incumbents and legal successors are unavailable for carrying out the office during periods of catastrophic incidents that are considered emergencies. As of November 12, the vote on the amendment was 65.26% in favor to 34.74% against.
Tax advisory votes:
The 12 tax advisory votes were nonbinding questions that advised the legislature to repeal or maintain bills passed in the 2019 legislative session that increased taxes. A majority of voters were in favor of maintaining three bills and repealing the other nine. The 12 advisory questions on the ballot this year was the largest number of advisory questions on tax increases in Washington required by the state’s automatic process. There were between three and five in 2017, 2015, and 2013.