With Friday’s deadline to turn in signatures for initiatives to the Legislature just days away, our Elections Division reports that sponsors of two measures that will submit signature petitions before then.
Initiative activist Tim Eyman plans to bring in signatures Thursday between 9 and 10 a.m. for his latest offering to Washington: an initiative on the state’s initiative process itself. Dubbed the “Protect the Initiative Act,” Eyman’s Initiative 517 would set penalties for interfering with or retaliating against signature-gatherers and petition-signers; require that all measures receiving sufficient signatures appear on the ballot, limiting pre-election legal challenges; and extend time for gathering initiative petition signatures.
The other initiative, I-522, is scheduled to have its signatures delivered Thursday at 1 p.m. Sponsored by Chris McManus, I-522 would require most raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, and seeds and seed stocks, if produced using genetic engineering as defined, to be labeled as genetically engineered when offered for retail sale.
According to Elections Division staff, McManus says he plans to submit about 340,000 signatures. No word yet from Eyman on how many signatures he’s delivering on Thursday. At least 241,153 valid signatures must be submitted for an initiative to be certified. Our office recommends at least a 25 percent buffer to cover duplicate or invalid signatures.
Since Eyman’s measure and I-522 are initiatives to the Legislature, lawmakers have three options if the measures qualify: 1) adopt the initiative as proposed, resulting in it becoming law without a vote of the people; 2) reject or refuse to act on it, thus placing the initiative on the General Election ballot next November; or 3) approve an alternative to the initiative, with both the original and the alternate measures being placed on the General Election ballot.
This Friday at 5 p.m. is the deadline to submit signatures to the Elections Division for initiatives to the Legislature. Monday is opening day for 2013 initiatives to the people to be filed.
Go here to learn more about Washington’s initiative and referendum process.