Elections are great educators. We learn more about our issues, our candidates, and ourselves.
The past election was no exception. While the results reinforced what many already hold to be true, there were some interesting takeaways, to be sure.
First off, Bainbridge Island reinforced its reputation as a progressive place, and a majority of voters showed their true blue colors in this election. President Barack Obama won between 67 percent to 83 percent of the vote from one end of the island to the other in early and unofficial returns.
That was no surprise.
More striking was the island’s wholehearted support of Referendum 74, the same-sex marriage measure.
An analysis of the precinct-by-precinct vote by the Review showed R-74 passing with 78 percent of the overall vote on Bainbridge — well above the 53 percent approval mark in Kitsap County and across Washington state.
Likewise, voters here approved I-502, the marijuana legalization measure, by lesser but still landslide proportions. Many precincts on Bainbridge approved the measure with 70 percent or more of the vote.
Bainbridge voters also rejected Tim Eyman’s latest initiative — I-1185, which would require a two-thirds legislative majority or voter approval for tax increases — with a 58 percent “no” vote.
And a majority of island voters also voted in opposition to I-1240, the charter school proposal.
Viewed as a whole, what we have learned is that most Bainbridge Island residents see an essential and proper role for government in our daily lives, and in some cases, they see instances where the government should get out of the way.
The election here shows government has a vital role in maintaining adequate public funding for public schools. The election here shows the public doesn’t need or want to vote on every tax or fee increase; we elect leaders to make those decisions.
The Bainbridge vote on I-1185 and I-1240 are especially illuminating, given recent rumblings from some about excessive taxation and the potential outsourcing of city work. It seems that a majority of voters here understand that government has a rightful and primary part to play in the provision of essential services.
Its intrusions into private life — that’s a different matter.