Sponsors turn in signatures for firearms initiative
I-1491 supporters deliver boxes of signatures to the Elections Division Thursday.
About 304,000 signatures for Initiative 1491 were submitted to the state Elections Division office in Olympia Thursday morning, the second of five initiatives expected to be delivered there this week. Friday is the deadline to submit signatures for initiatives to the people filed this year.
I-1491 would allow police, family or household members to obtain court orders temporarily preventing firearms access by persons exhibiting mental illness, violent or other behavior indicating they may harm themselves or others.
I-1491 sponsors indicate they will bring in additional signatures on Friday for a total surpassing 330,000. If enough signatures are submitted, the measure will undergo a 3 percent random sample check instead of a review of all submitted signatures. Based on history, it’s likely I-1491 will earn a place on the fall ballot, officials said.
The 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.
Three more initiatives are scheduled to turn in signatures to Elections on Friday: I-1515 (gender-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms), I-1501 (increasing penalties for criminal identity theft and consumer fraud targeting seniors and vulnerable individuals) and I-1464 (creating a state-funded campaign finance program). UPDATE: The I-1515 campaign notified our Elections Division late Thursday afternoon that it won’t bring in signatures, so that measure will not appear on the fall ballot.
On Wednesday, sponsors for I-1433 (raising state’s minimum wage) said they turned in slightly more than 360,000 signatures, with 28,000 more arriving Thursday.
As the initiative petitions arrive, an Elections Division crew does a preliminary check, looking for any obvious problems or potential fraud, repairing any damaged petitions and counting the number of petition sheets. The complete set of signatures for that initiative is sent to the State Archives for scanning and an electronic version is returned to Elections for verification. During the week of July 11, a crew will do prep work of all initiatives filed, including identification of the names to be checked under random sampling. A computer program generates the random selection.
Beginning the week of July 18, a second team will begin scrutiny of each identified signature, looking to make sure the person is a registered Washington voter and that the signature matches the one on file. Any duplicates are also noted. The process takes three or four days for each initiative. The initiatives are generally processed in the order received.
If an initiative campaign does not submit enough signatures to allow random sampling, all signatures must be checked, at least until the number of signatures drops below the bare minimum to get on the ballot, 246,372.
At least two shifts of workers will be needed this year.
Two other citizen-generated measures, Initiatives to the Legislature 732 (carbon taxes) and 735 (opposing Citizen United court decision), already have qualified for the fall ballot.
Go here to view all of the initiatives to the people filed this year.