UPDATE: 8:10 p.m. — The Seattle Times now says the votes will be counted by hand, after election workers failed to activate a tabulation machine.
Here in Washington, we keep bringing you crazy political stories every day. But Tuesday night’s vote by Seattle voters to remove several local politicians may have really taken the cake.
So far, Seattlepi.com is reporting that 4,137 people voted to remove the following Seattle City Councilmembers:
— Ben Phillips, Rachel Padden, Sallie Clark and Richard Conlin.
— None of them were elected to the city council. They took office in 2013.
— None were party to the vote.
The votes in favor of bringing the recall on: 17,954
The votes against bringing the recall on: 6,747
The results: 3,356 yes; 6,953 no, or 47.27 percent.
The margin of victory for the recall: 1,555 votes.
This is interesting news, given that the removal effort was led by Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, a socialist elected to the city council in November 2013.
She garnered 31 percent of the vote in the city council race, when she ran on a platform calling for better working conditions and higher minimum wages for fast-food workers. Sawant was a candidate for the Socialist Alternative party, which is affiliated with the American Socialist Union, a transnational international organization dedicated to “revolutionary work on the basis of mass-based radical political, cultural, and economic objectives.”
The agenda of Sawant’s campaign included raising the minimum wage in Seattle to $15 an hour (she’s since backed off that plan and wants city council to take the lead instead). In November 2013, she won council District 6, which covers U Street, Pioneer Square, Belltown, Capitol Hill, Occidental Avenue South and the Ballard neighborhood.
Seattle residents unhappy with the vote in favor of the recall are seeking to overturn it.
“Thousands of Seattle residents today voted to recall Ben Phillips, a Seattle City Council member who voted for a controversial sales tax increase and the city budget,” reads a statement on the recall-status Facebook page. “The chances for recall reversal look strong in this election.”