Recently released election results show what most on the Island already suspected: Vashon tends to vote liberal.
Last week King County Elections released results for individual voting precincts — 18 in all on Vashon — and the numbers show that Islanders leaned predominately to the left on hot-button ballot items in November.
President Obama won decidedly on Vashon, taking 77.6 percent of the Island’s votes, compared to Mitt Romney’s 18.6 percent. Obama took 68.7 percent of the vote in King County and 56.2 percent in the state.
As the place with the highest percentage of same-sex couples in the state, Vashon also overwhelmingly voted to legalize gay marriage in Washington. Referendum 74 won 80 percent approval on the Island, with just 20 percent of voters rejecting it. The referendum squeaked by in Washington with 53.7 percent approval; it garnered 67 percent of the vote in King County.
In what was widely said to be a less predictable ballot contest, a large majority of Islanders voted to legalize the use of marijuana in Washington. On Vashon, 73.4 percent voted to approve Initiative 502 and 26.6 percent voted against it. It ultimately passed with 55.7 percent approval in the state, and in King County it won 63.5 percent of the vote.
State Sen. Sharon Nelson, a Democrat who lives on Maury Island, said she wasn’t too surprised at Vashon’s election results. Four years ago, she noted, Obama won 80 percent of Vashon’s vote. This time she thought his 77.8 percent lead was impressive, considering that the county is still in a recession and still at war.
“It doesn’t surprise me that we dropped a bit, but that still is exceptional support,” she said.
As for Ref. 74, Nelson said one of her proudest votes was when she voted for gay marriage on the Senate floor, and she was just as proud to see Vashon support the measure. She speculated the Island may well have put forward the highest approval of Ref. 74 in the state.
“I think it just reflects our values in protecting civil rights for all. Plus we have a large LGBT community,” she said.
A close analysis of Vashon’s election results shows that Maury Island may be a slightly more conservative place than Vashon Island.
Maury residents came out 23.6 percent in favor of Romney, while just 17.4 percent of Vashonites voted for the former governor. Maury was also slightly less in favor of Ref. 74 and I-502. Maury saw 22.1 percent vote against legalizing same-sex marriage, while 19.5 percent of Vashon residents voted against it. Maury residents were also 28.2 percent against legalizing marijuana, while 26.2 percent of Vashon voted against it.
Nelson said she was simply happy to see Vashon once again had a high voter turnout. More than 88 percent of the Island’s registered voters sent in ballots this November, compared to King County’s 82 percent.
“Vashon is known to be very liberal ... and also we’re known to be islands that vote,” Nelson said.
Vashon is in good company, though. Washington had the highest voter turnout of any state this election, with 81 percent of registered voters casting ballots.