SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokane County Elections Office counted 71,062 ballots Tuesday evening, representing an initial voter turnout of 27.44 percent. The numbers and percentages will change after Wednesday's mail is received and the ballots that were deposited in drop boxes on election day are counted.
Spokane County voters came out in support of Proposition 1 and renewed the one-tenth of one-percent Criminal Justice & Public Safety Sales and Use Tax by approximately 61 percent to 39 percent. The countywide sales tax raises approximately $7.1 million annually. Spokane County receives 60-percent and municipalities receive 40-percent that helps fund programs, services and personnel.
According to Board Chair Todd Mielke, the tax will enable the county and neighboring municipalities to continue providing mandated services.
"The current economy made renewal of the sales and use tax even more critical than it was when it was first approved in 2004. This money helps support many criminal justice services including the Sheriff's Office, Juvenile Services and the courts - which are among the most basic priorities of local government. On behalf of the Board of County Commissioners, I want to thank the voters for showing their support for law enforcement and the courts," Mielke said.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich was also pleased with tonight's results, "I want to express my deep appreciation to the citizens of Spokane County for supporting their public safety and law enforcement," Knezovich said.
The next update from the Elections Office will be on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Spokane County Auditor Vicky Dalton adds that the primary election results will not be official until they are certified on September 2.