What’s a democracy voucher anyway?

Jul 20, 2017, 6:49 AM | Updated: 8:55 am
democracy voucher, democracy vouchers, donors...
(File, MyNorthwest)
(File, MyNorthwest)

We’ve covered democracy vouchers, repeatedly.

But it turns out people are still confused about the citywide program.

At least that was the case with Danny O’Neil, host at 710 ESPN Seattle and Seattle resident who unearthed his democracy vouchers somewhere in his backlog of mail and had no idea what to do with them before consulting reporter Mike Lewis. Their email chain follows:

DANNY: Dude. Remember a few weeks ago when you were on the “Tom and Curley Show” talking about some certificates that allow you to vouch for democracy? Well, in sorting/sifting/shredding my past six months worth of mail, I came across some. What the hell are these things, Mike?

MIKE: Congratulations. You found your Democracy Vouchers, Danny. They are unique to Seattle. As a homeowner, you bought ‘em with a 2015 property tax hike. You get four worth $25 dollars each.

DANNY: Can I put them toward the construction of a new arena to host concerts and some type of professional athletics?

MIKE: Sorry, no. They are not for sale, trade or stadium naming rights. For this election, you can send your vouchers to candidates from one of three races in Seattle: city attorney or the two at-large city council seats. In subsequent elections, you will be able to use the vouchers on the mayor’s race and other council seats. The candidates, if they qualify, then can cash in the vouchers for actual campaign cash that came from the new property tax.

DANNY: So it’s like the dole for politicians?

MIKE: In a way. The idea behind the vouchers is to take big money out of politics by … um … well … mostly changing the source and portion-size of that big money. Think of it like ice cream. If a candidate scarfs down ice cream in giant dollops he receives mostly from Haagen-Dazs, he gets a brain freeze, fat and he owes Haagen-Dazs favors for that binge.

But if he eats ice cream with tiny individual teaspoons from the freezers of every homeowner in Seattle, he skips the brain freeze and obligations to Haagen-Dazs. Plus, if everyone gives only a teaspoon, who will miss it?

DANNY: What if I want all of my ice cream for myself?

MIKE: Tough luck. You own a home in Seattle, and 63 percent of voters approved the property tax hike to pay for Democracy Vouchers. And while they might admit that it’s odd to find City Attorney Pete Holmes in the kitchen holding a spoon, they say it’s better to have him in voters’ houses than neck-deep in Caramel Cone at the Haagen-Dazs factory.

DANNY: Hmmm. Is it just a coincidence that the city attorney, who advocated the legalization of pot, is hypothetically in my kitchen, head in the freezer, complaining that I don’t have Caramel Cone, just Chocolate Peanut Butter? I’ll assume that it is.

So can I donate against a specific candidate? I’m thinking of a certain socialist who’s name starts with a ‘K’ and ends with a ‘shama Sawant.”

MIKE: Kind of. The voucher program has not considered topically targeted donations such as, “the candidate who most irritates the mayor” or “anyone who actually owns a business in this town” or “best beard in the field.” But if you can figure out which candidate fits the bill, have at it. But remember, the candidate has to be eligible for vouchers to cash them in. And that “certain socialist who’s name starts with a ‘K’ and ends with a ‘shama Sawant” isn’t up for re-election this year.

She will be in two years. So don’t lose your vouchers again.

DANNY: Cool. I’ll put them back in my mail pile for safe-keeping while scanning for any candidate who will follow Hawaii’s lead and advocate a bill to keep these (gosh) (darn) pedestrians from staring at their phones while walking in Seattle (specifically in South Lake Union).

Local News

Orca Humpback Fight...
Colleen West, KIRO 7 News

Rare clash between orcas, humpback whales witnessed in Salish Sea

A large group of orcas and pair of humpback whales harassed each other during an hours-long encounter about 25 miles west of Port Angeles.
11 hours ago
weekend traffic...
Micki Gamez

Closures to cause heavy traffic through Seattle this weekend

Be prepared for long commutes in Seattle this weekend as construction closures are set to cause heavy traffic on I-90, I-5, SR-9 and more.
11 hours ago
Ted Buehner

Dry summers delay changes in leaves, but brilliant autumn colors around the corner

This sunny dry weather is expected to continue through Columbus Day Weekend, providing more unseasonably warm weather for enjoying fall hues.
1 day ago
Hanna Scott

No timeline for Office of Independent Investigations use of force cases to begin

“The new Office of Independent Investigation will increase transparency and trust in investigations of deadly uses of force by law enforcement."
1 day ago
Nicole Jennings

The drought is over! Mariners fans are ready for postseason baseball

With playoffs closer than ever, Mariners fans await tonight's results with baited breath
1 day ago
Hanna Scott

Report discovers troubling gap between BIPOC, white homeowners in Washington state

More than 143,000 BIPOC households would need to become homeowners to close the gap between white and BIPOC households in Washington.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
What’s a democracy voucher anyway?