Voters in Tacoma were supporting an increase in the city’s minimum wage but appeared to endorse a gradual increase to $12 an hour rather than a quick bump to $15.

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Voters in Tacoma appeared in initial returns to be favoring gradually raising the city’s minimum wage to $12.

Initiative 1B, put on the ballot by the Tacoma City Council, would require all employers to phase in a minimum wage of $12 by 2018. The first wage bump would be to $10.35 in February.

With 71 percent of the voteon Tuesday evening, the measure was ahead of an alternative minimum-wage proposal.

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The competing measure, called Initiative 1 and placed on the ballot by activists, would raise the minimum wage to $15, effective Dec. 4. It would apply to employers with at least $300,000 in annual gross revenue. That measure was not getting as much support Tuesday night, with nearly 29 percent of the vote.

Tacoma’s voters were asked, first, if either measure should become law. If a majority votes “no” on that question, neither measure passes. But if a majority says “yes” to that question, the minimum-wage increase getting the most votes wins.

Voters saying “yes” were ahead, with 57 percent favoring a minimum wage bump of some kind in Tuesday returns.