Secretary of State Wyman certifies the results of Initiative 594 in her office. (Photo courtesy of Laura Mott)
One down, one to go.
Soon after our Elections Division’s signature checkers finished reviewing a small sample of Initiative 594 signatures, Secretary of State Kim Wyman officially certified the results of the check Wednesday.
I-594 would require universal background checks on gun purchases.
Our Elections Division reported that 346,834 signatures were submitted, far over the minimum requirement of 246,372 valid voter signatures. The high number turned in qualified I-594 for a 3 percent random sample check, amounting to 10,588 sigs for review. Of that sample, 9,486 signatures were accepted, while 1,102 were rejected because the signers were not registered Washington voters, the signature didn’t match the one on file, there were duplicate signatures, or there were signature images pending. Of the sampled signatures, about 11 percent were rejected, much lower than the 18 percent average rejection rate.
Now, checkers planned to move on to reviewing signatures on I-594’s rival gun-related measure, I-591, which 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. I-591 sponsors delivered what they said were about 345,000 signatures. Elections Division officials say I-591 petition sheets are being processed in preparation for what likely will be another 3 percent sample check. That check is expected to be completed by Thursday or Friday next week.
Wyman already provisionally certified both measures to the Legislature. She did that so the House and Senate can start scheduling committee hearings on either or both measures instead of waiting for the formality of both sample checks to be finished. In fact, the Senate Law and Justice Committee has scheduled public hearings on I-591 and I-594 for Jan. 29 at 1:30 p.m. in Senate Hearing Room 1 of the John A. Cherberg Building.
Legislators can 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 fall ballot. The Legislature is expected to not take action on either measure, which would result in both initiatives being placed before Washington voters late this year.
I-594 was checked first because its sponsors submitted their signatures before I-591 sponsors turned in theirs.