“Director of Elections? What the hell is that?” you ask. Yeah, me too. This position used to be appointed by the County Executive, but several years ago we, the voters, decided (via charter amendment) to elect the Director of Elections directly (say THAT ten times fast!).

Sherill Huff has held this position since 2007, overseeing and administering elections in King County. She is retiring due to personal and health considerations. Her Deputy Director, Julie Wise, is running to replace her, touting her experience as Huff's deputy as her primary qualification.

Huff also uses corporate mumbo-jumbo in her voter's pamphlet statement. What are “Lean Management principles” and “Six Sigma techniques”? Sounds a little Romney-esque to me.

I like the experience Zack Hudgins brings. He's spent time in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Iraq, working with those countries to establish democratic election processes (yeah, I know, it ain't easy). He's a state legislator with a background in budgets and technology. He's even answered phones for Amazon customer service back in the 90's. If he can track down shipping information on your missing Spice Girls CD, he can oversee a fair and accessible election process.



Courtney Gregoire is the luckiest candidate on the ballot this year. As a sitting commissioner at the Port of Seattle, she showed little spine (despite big talk) in standing up to the Arctic drilling lease given to Shell Oil and Foss Maritime. She claimed to be skeptical of the lease, but when it came time to vote, she skipped the meeting.

She had a good excuse: She was 8-months pregnant and on doctor-ordered bed rest. Still, she could've called into the Commission meeting and participated by phone ("It's been done before," stated the Port's spokesman). But when push came to shove, Gregoire was silent.

But, man, is she lucky. Her two opponents are perennial lunatic fringe candidate Goodspaceguy, who wants to abolish the minimum wage and states that "blowing up the people's Kingdome was wrong," and John Naubert, a Socialist with no experience and little vision. In other words, she has no competition.

Take a cue from Gregoire herself, and don't vote in this race. Or even better..


While Position 2 on the Port Commission offers very little choice, Position 5 offers many. Too many. Nine candidates are running for this seat, vacated by oil-rig-humping Republican Bill Bryant, who has announced his candidacy for Governor. Bryant's got great hair, but little else going for him. Good luck in that race, dude.

As usual, this open seat has attracted folks from every walk of life: business folk, labor leaders, airline pilots, elephant lovers, and more. Wading through the crowd, the candidate that stands out is Fred Felleman, who is an environment-loving whale biologist, whose achievements include banning offshore drilling and eliminating cruise ship waste discharge off Washington state's coast.

He also has pretty good hair.



In 2015, apparently "9" is the magic number. As in the race for Seattle Port Commissioner Position 5, nine candidates are running for the Seattle City Council District 1 seat. NINE PEOPLE! That's almost half of West Seattle.

There are some good candidates, and some off-the-wall ones (please, please, go read Pavel Goberman's candidate statement in the King County Voter's Pamphlet). The better candidates all promise to advocate for pretty much the same things: better schools, safe parks, developer impact fees, free boxes of kittens, and most of all, more transportation options from the urban island that is West Seattle.

But in that transportation discussion, only two candidates include bicycling as a significant part of their mobility plan—Chas Redmond and Karl Wirsing. I ride from downtown to West Seattle frequently. That route is a viable option for bike commuters, yet it could use some major improvements. So why aren't more candidates advocating for things like better bike lanes and expanded bike share?

Most of these candidates label themselves as "progressive," but are afraid to use the word "bicycle". Vote for one who isn't.


The biggest political issues facing the voters in District 2 appear to be the high cost of housing, and police accountability. Bruce Harrell has sat on the Seattle City Council since 2008, during which time housing has become less affordable and the SPD has become less accountable.

Josh Farris is "the rent is too damn high" candidate. Literally. He's currently living in a one bedroom apartment that has had a 20-day eviction notice tacked to the front door...for four and a half years. He promises to fight for housing justice, which sounds great. And he's endorsed by Noam Chomsky, which sounds even better. But he's kind of a one-trick pony in a district that could use a few more tricks.

Tammy Morales
doesn't have a ton of political experience and is a bit vague on details, but she's pissed that SPD has run amok with little accountability from the city council. And also that the rent is too damn high.


This race is a good example of why district elections suck. Whereas in the past, candidates could choose which seat to run for, they are now forced to run in the neighborhood where they live. And the folks who choose to live in District 3, comprised primarily of Capitol Hill and the Central District, tend to be awesome. And District 3 has some awesome people running for this seat. But it's the Hunger Games out there: five enter the arena, only one can survive.

Kshama Sawant has served on the city council for two years, and deserves to continue the work she's done so far, which most notably was forcing a real conversation on a $15 minimum wage, which is now a reality.

Several candidates in all council races this year are talking tough about developer linkage fees (which are fees developers must pay to help fund affordable housing), but too often tough-talking candidates turn into Big Money politicians. Not Sawant, she's the real deal. Let the games begin!


Well, it finally happened. Seven years after creating Doug's Voter's Guide, someone I know personally is running for office. Michael Maddux has long been one of this guide's biggest fans, so imagine my internal conflict when Michael announced his candidacy for Seattle City Council District district.

Should I blindly endorse Michael simply based on his loyal readership and unabashed appreciation for this guide? What if another candidate comes along, promising to abolish cars, reduce the price of beer, and give out free Seahawks tickets to everyone named "Doug"? Well that ideal candidate never surfaced, but Michael is the closest thing to it.

I met Michael when we were both volunteers for the 43rd District Democrats. He worked his ass off for that organization and he'll work his ass off as a member of the Seattle City Council.

Incredibly, there are 47 candidates running for city council this year, and Michael's personal background gives him a truly unique perspective among all of them. He's a renter, he's young, he's gay, he's a single dad. He drinks beer, plays softball and rides a bike. Most importantly, he's smart, honest, accessible and gives a shit about making Seattle a great place to live for all people


District Five: Where the Sidwalk Ends. If you've ever walked from your weed store at 135th and Aurora to Dicks on Holman Road, you'd know that what passes for sidewalks in this northern-most district of Seattle is mostly patches of gravel and broken glass. It comes as no surprise that sidewalks, sidewalks, sidewalks are the three biggest talking points for most of the candidates for Seattle City Council Distrct 5.

So what sets one candidate apart from another?

Well, another thing you may have noticed on your walk from Aurora to Holman Road is the number of people in need of social services in this district. Mercedes Elizalde has experience as social service worker, and vows to be "the social service expert and champion on the Seattle City Council." We could use that right now.

Sidewalks are low-hanging fruit in District 5. Sooner or later they will be built no matter who occupies this seat. What Seattle needs now is an advocate for those are are least able to advocate for themselves.


Man, I love Mike O'Brien's smile. It's like a summer sunrise over a dewy meadow.

But behind that kind smile is a dude who speaks the truth and kicks some ass. He's got some serious progressive bona fides, fighting against oil trains and Arctic drilling platforms in Seattle, advocating for the homeless and pushing for developer linkage fees. He also sits on the board of Sound Transit and is a major proponent of Sound Transit 3 that could include rail lines for Ballard and West Seattle. We need that voice on the city council.

And Mike bikes. Everywhere. Which makes me smile


Everyone likes Sally Bagshaw. Everyone has endorsed Sally Bagshaw. Unions, mayors, cops, newspapers, realtors. EVERYONE. Is it because Sally Bagshaw is a great city councilperson? No. It's because she lacks any real competition. In fact one of the two people running against her literally said, "I do not want to be on the city council." Wow.

In her six years on the city council Bagshaw has advocated for Neighborhood Greenways, more parks and safer bike lanes. Unfortunately she's shown that she won't rock the boat. But if you and I decide to start rocking, Sally will probably show up and start rocking the boat with us.


Know your Johns. Three of them are running for this citywide council seat against one Dick, er, Tim. Tim Burgess, the most conservative member of the Seattle City Council.

Rockstar John, John Roderick (front man for the band the Long Winters), wants to be "the independent voice" on the city council, fighting against car-centric transportation boondoggles, youth detention centers and especially against the "homogenous culture" creeping into Seattle.

Tenants Rights Jon, Jon Grant, has experience expanding affordable housing, and wants to continue that work on the city council via inclusionary zoning and requiring developers pay maximum linkage fees. He's also wants to hold SPD officers accountable in excessive force cases, something that isn't happening now.

Labor Leader John, John Persak, will fight for good paying jobs, linkage and impact fees and accountability for Deep Bore Tunnel cost overruns.

All three Johns seem like good candidate, and for me it's a near coin flip between Rockstar John and Tenants Rights Jon. But right now, the city council needs a strong voice for the independent arts community in Seattle, something that's currently lacking. Pick the guy with the voice


For at least a decade in the 1990s and 2000s I used The Stranger as my guide to vote in each election. In the mid-2000s a funny thing happened: Dan Savage got older, buffer and richer (while I did not) and The Stranger's voter's guide grew more mainstream. I had no choice but to create a voter's guide of my own. Thank goodness I did.

As a former legal adviser to Ed Murray, Lorena Gonzalez is tied way too closely to our inept mayor. If elected, she will likely be a rubber stamp for Murray's corporate agenda. Sadly she's the candidate The Stranger has endorsed for this citywide seat.

But not me.

I met Bill Bradburd a few months ago and asked him if he thought Seattle's bike share program, Pronto!, should be expanded. Not only did he say it should be expanded, he thought it should be city-owned—a creative and radical notion (which I love) that has not been mentioned by any other candidate.

Bradburd also helped lead the creation of District Elections—a less radical notion that I am not very found of. But his reasoning, he told me, was to fundamentally change the face of the Seattle City Council. Electing establishment candidates tied to Big Money and our mayor will not do that.