I-1366, I-1401 certified, heading to fall ballot
Assistant Secretary of State Mark Neary certifies I-1366 and I-1401.
Two initiatives, one dealing with taxes and the other with endangered animals, officially have the green light to go onto the General Election ballot this fall. Assistant Secretary of State Mark Neary Thursday certified that Initiative 1366 and I-1401 both have enough valid signatures to be placed on the statewide ballot.
I-1366, sponsored by initiative activist Tim Eyman, would make it harder for the Legislature to raise taxes. I-1401, backed by Paul Allen, aims to crack down on trafficking of endangered species and parts.
State Elections Division crews completed scrutiny of voter signatures on a random sampling of the I-1366 petitions and showed that sponsors submitted more than enough names to qualify for a state vote.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman applauded the continuing citizen interest in “direct democracy” via the ballot box:
“About 700,000 people from all over the state with various political views took part in gaining ballot access for the two 2015 initiatives. Ballot measures always seem to generate voter turnout and this year, with no statewide or congressional races, this is an important factor in generating interest.”
To earn a ballot spot takes 246,372 valid signatures of registered Washington voters – 8 percent of the total votes cast in the last governor’s election. I-1366 sponsors turned in more than 339,000 signatures and about 10,000 were randomly chosen by computer algorithm for a full check. The check showed an error rate of 15.4 percent, compared with the average rate of 18 percent in recent decades.
The I-1366 check showed that 9,143 signatures in the sample were accepted, 983 were rejected because the signer wasn’t a registered voter, 46 rejected because the signature didn’t match the one on file and 16 were duplicates.
I-1366 is an attempt to persuade the Legislature to place a constitutional amendment on the 2016 statewide ballot, to require a two-thirds vote in both houses to approve future tax increases in Olympia. The initiative says if lawmakers don’t place the amendment on the ballot by next April 15, the state sales tax would be cut from 6.5 percent to 5.5 percent, costing the treasury roughly $1 billion a year.
Only the Legislature may originate a constitutional amendment. That requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers and simple majority approval of the voters. The State Supreme Court has ruled that previous Eyman efforts to impose a two-thirds supermajority rule are unconstitutional, since current language requires only a simple majority for taxes and other bills to pass. The court said Eyman could succeed only if the constitution were amended.
I-1401 sponsors submitted over 347,000 signatures and about 10,000 were randomly chosen by computer algorithm for a full check. The check showed an error rate of about 14 percent.
The I-1401 check showed that 9,101 signatures in the sample were accepted, 1,321 were rejected because the signer wasn’t a registered voter, 120 rejected because the signature didn’t match the one on file. Only one duplicate was found, an unusually low number.