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Class-size initiative sponsors turn in 330K signatures

by Brian Zylstra | July 2nd, 2014

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Initiative 1351 sponsor Mary Howes leads a group of kids delivering signatures for the ballot measure to the State Elections Division in Olympia.

About 30 children were among supporters that delivered nearly 330,000 signatures for an initiative to reduce class sizes in Washington public schools to the State Elections Division  in Olympia Wednesday morning, one day before the deadline to submit signatures for initiatives to the people this year.

Initiative 1351 would direct the Legislature to allocate funds to reduce class sizes and increase staffing support for K-12 students, with additional class-size reductions and staffing increases in high-poverty schools.

I-1351 sponsor Mary Howes said 329,149 signatures (on 37,791 petition sheets) were submitted Wednesday. Howes said her team plans to bring in additional signatures Thursday afternoon.

The number delivered far exceeds the minimum of 246,372 valid signatures from Washington voters needed for the measure to qualify for the General Election ballot this fall. Our Elections Division recommends at least 325,000 signatures to provide a buffer in case of duplicate or ineligible signatures.

The Elections Division determines the number needed for a 3 percent random sample check and a computer algorithm determines the actual number to inspect. The checkers will see if the signer is a registered Washington voter and if the signature matches the one on file.

State Elections Director Lori Augino said a team of signature checkers began counting the number of sheets soon after they were brought in by the I-1351 crew. Augino said those sheets will be taken to the State Archives Thursday for imaging following the sheet count. The remaining petition sheets coming in Thursday will be taken to Archives Monday for imaging.

After the initiative sheets are imaged, signature checkers will begin their work on July 14. Augino expects they will complete the signature check in about one week.

Signatures for another initiative could be submitted this week. Initiative 1329 sponsors are scheduled to turn in their signatures to the Elections Division Thursday at 2 p.m., just ahead of the 5 p.m. deadline. I-1329 concerns the influence of corporations and money in the political system.

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