Many people live in Vancouver, Washington. But how do they tend to vote?
Vancouver is a liberal city as we can see from past voting trends. In the 2020 presidential election, 51.32% of the population voted for the Democratic candidate rather than another political party.
The fact that many people have a more Liberal Democratic view has affected the laws that have passed in the past decade in Washington.
What Laws Have Been Added/changed
Stance on Marijuana:
In December 2016, Washington passed a law that allows people over the age of 21 to use marijuana recreationally. Before this point in time, it was only allowed for medicinal use by people over the age of 21. However, the police are still very strict on the use of Marijuana by people who are under the age of 21.
In Vancouver, Washington, “it is unlawful to open a package containing marijuana, useable marijuana, or a marijuana-infused product, or consume marijuana, useable marijuana, or a marijuana-infused product, in view of the general public.” source
The Washington police are also very strict on how many ounces of marijuana you are allowed to carry if you are found carrying it. “The law allows a person 21 or older to have up to 1 ounce of useable marijuana OR up to 16 ounces of marijuana-infused product OR up to seventy-two ounces of marijuana-infused product in liquid form. Possession of more than 28 grams, but less than 40 grams is still a misdemeanor. Possession of 40 grams of marijuana is still a felony.” source
If you are found with an illegal amount of marijuana, then you can, and will, be charged with a misdemeanor, and will face up to 90 days in jail, and up to a $1,000 fine.
There are currently 103 retail marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver, Washington. However, there are strict laws that they have to follow to avoid being shut down. One of them states that “since 2014, the City of Vancouver has allowed recreational marijuana retailers, producers and processors, subject obtaining a state license from the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), and complying with additional City standards.” source
What are Liberal’s Top Priorities
The education of their children is very important to the citizens of Vancouver, Washington. According to former Superintendent Steve Webb, the community has voted for Levies that support the local school districts for more than 55 years in a row. source
There are 9 main high schools in Vancouver, Washington. One of them is especially dedicated to the students who plan on going into the medical field. The Henrietta Lacks and Bioscience High School is one of the most recently built high schools, having been built in 2013.
There are many hospitals in Vancouver, Washington. Most of them are teaching hospitals, but there are many other places for people to get quality health care in Washington.
Medical insurance is also very easy to get. Many insurance companies are located in Vancouver, Washington. Also, “Medical insurance plans can’t charge members more than $100 per month for insulin under a new cap on costs. They also have new restrictions on the cost of prescription drugs, so they can’t charge more than the cost of the drug and can’t require a pharmacy to provide a more expensive name brand when a cheaper generic is available, Student medical insurance plans will have to offer reproductive health care coverage for transgender students, based on their gender identity, regardless of the gender listed on their birth certificate.” source
The current Governor of Washington, Governor Inslee, strongly believes in climate change and believes that the state should implement measures that slow the effects of climate change. He has encouraged people to start walking or biking to work instead of driving to reduce car emissions. However, there are not very many wide paths dedicated to walkers and bikers.
While you can almost always find sidewalks to walk on, the bike lanes are mostly found in residential areas of Vancouver, Washington, rather than the more developed urban areas. Many citizens of Vancouver, Washington choose to use rideshare companies to get places rather than buy a car and contribute to emissions and other causes of climate change.
The environment is very important to the citizens of Vancouver, Washington. Vancouver is a place where trees are almost always surrounding you, even in the more developed areas of the city. There are many parks, hiking trails, and waterfalls within driving distance of any suburban area.
A ban on single-use plastic bags was also recently scheduled to take effect but was postponed because of Covid-19 and the risk of spreading the virus through reusable bags.
The citizens of Vancouver care about the environment and wish to protect the natural areas that surround them. They wish to especially protect the hiking and walking trails, as well as the waterfalls with hiking trails nearby. When the Eagle Creek Fire occurred in Portland, Oregon in 2017 and spread to small areas of Vancouver, Washington, there was a massive public outcry.
“The fire was started on September 2, 2017, by a 15-year-old boy igniting fireworks during a burn ban. The fire burned 50,000 acres, and burned for three months, before being declared completely contained. As of May 29, 2018, it was found still smoldering in some areas.” source
Many of the hiking and walking trails that were damaged during that fire have not been reopened, and may not be reopened for another few years, even though the fire occurred more than three years ago.
The teenager who caused the fire was ordered to pay more than $36 million in restitution, five years of probation, and 1,920 hours of community service. The public outrage caused the family of the teen to move out of the Washington area because they feared that they would be targeted and harmed.
However, the city of Vancouver has not banned plastic straws yet, although Portland, Oregon instituted a semi-ban of plastic straws in restaurants in May of 2019. Seattle is the only city in Washington state that has banned plastic straws in restaurants and public areas.
The minimum wage in Washington has steadily gone up for the past ten years. While this has partially been prompted by the rising cost of housing in both the Washington and Portland, Oregon areas, it has also been prompted by the votes of the local people, who tend to want the minimum wage to go up, so they can better support themselves and their families.
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History of Politics
What Past Elections Have Looked Like
Washington state is a state that tends to vote for the Democratic election candidates. However, there are times where the citizens in Washington state vote for the Republican candidate rather than the Democratic one.
In the 2020 Presidential Election, 51.32% of citizens in Vancouver, Washington voted for the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden rather than the Republican candidate Donald Trump, who received 46.19% of votes in Vancouver. source
In the 2016 Presidential Election, 46.34% of citizens in Vancouver, Washington voted for the Democratic candidate, Hilary Clinton, while the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, received 46.18% of votes. source
In the 2012 Presidential Election, 56.16% of citizens in Vancouver, Washington voted for the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, while Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate, received 41.29% of votes. source
In the 2008 Presidential Election, 52.17% of citizens in Vancouver, Washington voted for the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, while the Republican candidate, John McCain, received 46.08% of votes. source
In the 2004 Presidential election 46.7% of citizens in Vancouver, Washington voted for the Democratic candidate, John Kerry, while George W. Bush, the Republican candidate, received 52.0%. This is the last time that Vancouver, Washington citizens have voted for the Presidential Republican candidate rather than the Democratic Presidential candidate. source
Jay Inslee, who prefers the Democratic Party, won 50.83% of votes in the most recent election and served as the 23rd Governor of Washington since 2013.
However, 52.8% of people voted for Jaime Herrera Beutler, the Washington Republican candidate, for Congress during the 2020 election.source
Also, Washington state has used only mail-in ballots since 2011.
Politics of Surrounding States
The laws that pass and the politics in Vancouver, Washington are heavily influenced by Portland, Oregon. Portland, Oregon is also a state that tends to vote for the Democratic candidates. “The Democratic candidate for president has won in Oregon in every election since 1988.” source However, Oregon has not prioritized education in the same ways that Washington state has in the past.
The legalization of Marijuana in Washington state was influenced by the fact that Portland, Oregon legalized it in October 2015. Luckily, there is no current plan to legalize the possession of all hard drugs like Oregon did in November 2020.
The taxes in both states are very different as well. Washington state institutes sales tax, while Oregon institutes an income tax. This is slightly problematic for the people who live in Washington but work in Oregon because they have to pay both taxes. However, it is nice for Washingtonians when they want to purchase large and expensive items, because all they have to do to avoid sales tax is drive across the bridge.
For the people who live in Oregon, but frequently shop in Washington, all they have to do to avoid the sales tax is show the cashier their state ID or driver’s license, and the cashier will make your purchase tax-exempt if possible.
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