After submitting an estimated 250,000 signatures in early October, sponsors of a gun-control measure turned in what they claimed were another 95,000 signatures Thursday afternoon to our Elections Division, one day before Friday’s submission deadline for initiatives to the 2014 Legislature.
The estimated 345,000 signatures for Initiative 594 are far above the minimum number of 246,372 valid voter signatures needed to be sent to the Legislature this winter. Our Elections Division recommends that initiative sponsors submit at least 325,000 signatures to provide a cushion to cover duplicate or invalid signatures. The average error rate is 18 percent.
I-594, which was filed last June, requires universal background checks on gun purchases.
Sponsors of a competing gun-related measure, I-591, plan to bring in another 5,000 signatures Friday afternoon after submitting about 340,000 signatures in late November. That initiative, filed last May, would prohibit government agencies from confiscating guns or other firearms from citizens without due process, or from requiring background checks on firearm recipients unless a uniform national standard is required.
The signature check process for I-594 is expected to begin Jan. 10 and take about six working days to complete. Once the I-594 check is finished, signature checkers will focus on I-591. Elections Division officials say I-594 will undergo a signature check first because its signature petition sheets were submitted before the I-591 sheets were turned in. Officials anticipate both measures have enough signatures to conduct a 3 percent random sample check instead of having to check all of the submitted signatures.
If validated, the two measures would go first to the 2014 Legislature, which could approve either or both measures as submitted, ignore or reject them and allow them to go to the 2014 General Election ballot, or write legislative alternatives that would accompany the initiatives to the ballot.
For those wondering when the 2014 initiative season begins, initiatives to the people can be filed starting Jan. 4 through July 3, and the filing period for initiatives to the 2015 Legislature commences March 12 and ends Jan. 2, 2015.