Opponents of a ballot initiative that would raise the minimum wage for workers at some businesses in and around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to $15 announced on Tuesday that they were calling for a recount in the narrowly decided and closely watched contest. The prospect of a recount and more legal hurdles hardly stopped supporters from celebrating their narrow victory in the three-week-long vote count by King County Elections. The initiative, SeaTac Proposition 1, which eked out a 77-vote victory, has garnered national attention as other cities, including Seattle, weigh the merits of upping their minimum wages. Supporters pointed to the measure’s potential for spurring wider action. The hot-button ballot measure continues to pit business owners, who say they can’t afford the 63 percent wage hike, against workers ,who say they can’t make ends meet. Proposition 1 is also facing legal challenges. Two small food businesses, Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association have a case pending against the city of SeaTac, the city’s clerk and the Port of Seattle in King County Superior Court, contending the ballot measure violates state and federal laws.
“When an election is this close, everyone should be assured the outcome is as certain as possible,” Scott Ostrander, co-chair of Common Sense SeaTac, the campaign opposed to the initiative, said in an emailed statement about the recount.
Common Sense SeaTac has requested a hand recount, which, according to Kim van Ekstrom, chief communications officer for King County Elections, will likely get underway next week. “We’ll get on it really quickly because we’re anxious to get it done,” she said.
SeaTac voters cast a total of 6,003 ballots for and against Proposition 1. Certified election results released on Tuesday show 50.64 percent of those votes for the measure, with 49.36 percent opposed.