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Taking the initiative

by Brian Zylstra | July 8th, 2011

An elections worker counts pages for I-1183, the liquor privatization measure.

Elections Division crews will review signatures submitted for three citizen initiatives. Together, sponsors estimate they brought in more than 1 million signatures by Friday’s deadline.

They are:

  • Initiative 1183 was the first measure to come in. It would close state liquor stores and privatize liquor sales, excluding smaller stores. I-1183 sponsors said they turned in 354,398 signatures. One 1183 official said that about 150,000 of the signatures were gathered at Costco stores.
  • I-1125 came in later. Spearheaded by Tim Eyman (below, with KIRO-TV reporter Essex Porter), 1125 deals with transportation. Eyman said I-1125 received 327,043 signatures.
  • The SEIU-backed I-1163 campaign then brought in 340,497 signatures. That measure deals with homecare workers.

There was a possibility that the I-1149 campaign (legalizing marijuana) was going to bring in signatures, but organizers canceled their appointment. That means we’ll have no more than three initiatives on this fall’s statewide ballot, along with two constitutional amendments from the Legislature:

  • Senate Joint Resolution 8205, updating residency requirement to vote for president and vice president.
  • SJR 8206, requiring the Legislature to transfer to the rainy day fund a portion of extraordinary state revenue growth.

You can view more info about these two measures here.

A minimum of 241,153 valid signatures is required for any initiative to secure a spot on the November ballot. The Elections Division recommends that all sponsors submit at least 320,000 sigs to cover any invalid or duplicate signatures. (The average error rate historically is 18 percent.)  That number also allows for a speedier random sample method of verifying signatures.

The actual check for initiatives begins on July 18 at the Thurston County ballot-processing center in Tumwater, and all checks should be completed by the end of the first week in August, says state elections co-director Katie Blinn. Next week, petitions will be “imaged” by the state Archives and then election workers will begin bundling them into “volumes” that will be assigned to a crew of about 30 checkers.


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