by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:
The ballot measure to raise the minimum wage in the city of SeaTac to $15 an hour took a narrow early lead Tuesday night.
The first set of results released just after 8 p.m. revealed that 54 percent of voters approved SeaTac's Proposition One and 46 percent said no.
The increase would affect about 6,300 workers.
After hearing the initial results, supporters who gathered at the Bull Pen Pub called it a win, even though they said the initial ballots were only 40 percent of the total voters.
The measure requires a $15 minimum wage and paid sick days for employees of big companies at SeaTac airport-and the large restaurants and hotels around it.
"Everybody deserves a living wage and that's what I'm happy about," Roxan Sibel said. "We've got it."
Sibel said she's worked at SeaTac Airport for 30 years and currently makes $13.95 an hour. She said many co-workers make much less.
"You're fighting for the people who are making $9.19?" KIRO 7 asked. "Exactly," Sibel said, "and that's a lot of people below me."
If the measure is approved, supporters believe it could kick off similar fights in Seattle and nationwide.
But opponents, who argue it will hurt businesses and cost the city millions to administer, weren't giving up.
"The yes side is declaring victory - what's your response?" KIRO 7 asked Gary Smith, the spokesperson for opposition group Common Sense SeaTac.
"Well, we're still cautiously optimistic," Smith said. "Nobody really knows how many votes are to be counted still; it's entirely possible that this will turn around."
Because Washington state votes entirely by mail and ballots only need to be postmarked by Tuesday, more ballots are left to count.