Five outta six ain’t bad.
Voters in three Western states — California, Idaho, and Washington — soundly rejected ballot measures that aimed to hamstring local governments and cripple environmental protections.
It wasn’t close. In most places voter’s message was deafening: we want to protect our communities and our natural heritage.
- With essentially all precincts reporting (and roughly 60 percent of ballots counted), Washington’s I-933 was losing by a whopping 58 (no) to 42 (yes). Most of the counties with large numbers of ballots still to count have so far leaned heavily toward “no.” This one’s over.
- Perhaps the most shocking victory was Idaho. With almost every precinct reporting, Idaho’s Proposition 2 suffered the most resounding rejection in the West, 72 (no) to 28 (yes).
- Nearly all of California’s precincts have reported and Proposition 90 is going down 52.5 (no) to 47.5 (yes). With a 300,000 vote lead, everyone’s saying Prop 90 is down for the count.
The only blot on the otherwise wholesale rejection was Arizona, where Proposition 207 appears to have won — 65 (yes) to 35 (no). Opponents there had to struggle against an unbelievably crowded ballot and the usual deceptive tactics of anti-government mogul Howie Rich and his minions.
The “property rights” movement isn’t going away. But last night’s elections dealt them a crushing blow. They’ll be forced now to contend with the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans, even in conservative states (and perhaps especially so), value local decision-making and want to respect natural limits.
November 2006 will mark a time when communities chose to preserve their traditions of local decision-making. These ballot measures were incredibly dangerous. So we should be clear that their defeat is a victory for democracy at its most elemental level.