Results: ESD bond measure most unpopular in recent history

Only two precincts supported the bond measure — it sunk everywhere else.

The results are final — with the first 2023 special election certified on Feb. 24, the Enumclaw School District bond measure officially failed by a whopping 75%.

It’s difficult on its own to pass a bond. In fact, ESD has only managed it three times in the last 35 years, succeeding in 1998 (nearly 72% approval), 1997 (61 percent approval), and 2015 (which squeaked at 60% and four votes).

But this bond is only the second in recent history to not garner a simple majority of support, and was by far the least-supported bond measure in the last three decades; the previous record holder was the 1994 bond, which failed with only 46% approval.

The bond was also so unpopular that more local voters submitted a ballot than the previous three February special elections district voters participated in, which had ballot measures for a levy. In February 2022, 2018, and 2010, only an average of 6,800 people cast a ballot, but more than 9,500 registered voters turned up for the previous election.

But while the vast majority of local precincts sunk the bond measure, two actually turned up in support.

Maybe unsurprisingly to most voters, both precincts that supported the bond — by wide margins, even — were in the the more heavily-populated areas of Black Diamond.

That would be precinct BD 05-3849, which is the heart of the current Ten Trails development, and BD 05-3976, which is directly south of the first.

According to King County, the bond was supported by about 72% and 73% respectively. Support may have been strong in those areas because one of the district proposed building a new elementary school in that neighborhood.

That same support did not translate to where a new elementary was proposed in Enumclaw; districts surrounding J. J. Smith Elementary, which would have been demolished and rebuilt with bond funds, includes precincts ENM 31-0409, 21-0413, 31-0415, 31-0416, and 31-0417. These precincts rejected the bond with an average of about 76% of the vote.

How ESD may choose to meet this opposition remains unclear, though it’s possible the district’s Board of Directors will approve a slimmed-down version of the bond measure for a future election.