Friday, January 28, 2022
Jan. 28, 2022

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Cheers & Jeers: Election workers; anxiety

The Columbian
Published:

Cheers: To election workers. Even in an odd-year election with relatively low turnout, the Clark County Elections Office has plenty of work to do; for Tuesday’s election, that includes processing more than 100,000 ballots. The county also allows for election observers to be trained and take part in the process to ensure a fair and transparent vote.

For each election, about 600 ballots for a single race (typically a high-profile one) are manually recounted to make sure sorting machines are working properly. Results of those manual counts are certified and are included on the department’s website. Those who have questions about election integrity can contact the office at 564-397-2345 to learn more about the process. Free and fair elections are essential to American democracy; cheers go to the workers who protect those elections.

Jeers: To anxiety. According to a Pulse survey from the U.S. Census Bureau, Seattle ranks as the country’s most anxious major metropolitan area. In a survey starting in late September, 54.5 percent of adults in the metro area said they felt “nervous, anxious or on edge” for at least several days during the previous two weeks. That is the highest percentage among the 15 largest metro areas (Portland is not among the 15 largest).

Pulse surveys are designed to provide a quick snapshot of the United States and, as with any survey, there is room for error. But the good people of coffee-loving Seattle might consider switching to decaf for a while.

Cheers: To the workforce. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.4 percent of Washington workers quit their jobs in August. That was the lowest rate of any state and well below the national average of 2.9 percent in what is becoming known as the Great Resignation. Whether because of pandemic stress or a variety of other factors, a relatively high percentage of workers are leaving their job even if they do not have another one lined up.

Washington has the nation’s highest minimum wage at $13.69 an hour for 2021, and various other benefits make staying on the job more attractive here. With employers across the country worried about a worker shortage, Washington is demonstrating that pay and benefits are the best ways to attract employees.

Jeers: To Jimmy Lake. The University of Washington’s football coach stepped into a verbal puddle this week in preparation for his team’s game against the University of Oregon. Asked about recruiting against the Ducks for prospective players, Lake said Washington competes against “more academically prowess teams” in recruiting, specifically Notre Dame, Stanford and Southern California.

Even the smallest remark can get blown out of proportion when it comes to a rivalry game, and the comment did not sit well with Oregon fans. Considering that the Ducks have won 14 of the past 16 meetings between the schools, Lake might want to reconsider the Huskies’ recruiting strategy.

Cheers: To a fossil-fuel moratorium. The city of Vancouver’s moratorium on fossil-fuel infrastructure ends Dec. 8, and now staff members are asking the city council to extend it. The ban prohibits new or expanded large-scale facilities from distributing, extracting, refining and processing fossil fuels.

We expect city councilors to extend the moratorium, which can be implemented only in six-month increments. Vancouver officials have taken a responsible approach to fighting climate change; continuing that approach is important for attracting desirable businesses and industries that will enhance the city.

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