Topic: Initiative 517
You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
February 13, 2013 at 6:16 PM
Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s office says it has found fraud by three paid signature gatherers for two initiative campaigns.
An elections-division probe turned up thousands of apparently bogus signatures on petitions for Tim Eyman’s latest initiative, I-517, which deals with the initiative process, and for I-522, which seeks to label genetically engineered food, according to a news release from Wyman’s office.
Evidence of the fraud will be turned over to the Washington State Patrol for investigation and referral for possible prosecution, Wyman’s office said. Petition fraud is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The alleged fraud won’t stop the initiatives from being voted on. Both campaigns turned in far more than the 241,153 signatures required.
The three signature gatherers, who were not identified by Wyman’s office, turned in more than 8,000 signatures on petitions for the two initiatives. But routine checks by elections officials found many names, signatures and addresses on the petitions did not match voter records.
Wyman called the case the worst instance of initiative fraud elections officials could remember and suggested better regulation of paid-signature gatherers may be needed.
“This kind of disrespect of the voters and our cherished initiative process cannot be tolerated, and I want these cases fully investigated, and if, appropriate, as it certainly appears, I want these people prosecuted,” Wyman said in the news release. “I’m sure that sponsors of ballot measures demand that their solicitors be accurate and honest, but we’ve always feared that use of pay-per-signature encourages bad behavior.”
Eyman rejected the idea that paid signature gathering is a problem and said initiative sponsors have no motive to pay for bogus or invalid signatures.
“We’re all happy these three people got caught and that they are going to be prosecuted,” Eyman said.
The campaign for I-522 did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
December 26, 2012 at 1:34 PM
Tim Eyman plans to turn in signatures next week for a ballot measure that would make life easier for initiative sponsors like himself.
I-517, an initiative to the Legislature, would give initiative sponsors an additional six months to collect signatures. It also would set penalties for harassing signature gatherers, and prevent court challenges from keeping measures off the ballot, Eyman said.
He needs 241,153 valid signatures of registered voters to send the measure to lawmakers in January. The Secretary of State’s office recommends having around 300,000 signatures as a buffer in case some prove to be invalid. Eyman says he has the signatures needed and plans to turn them in on Jan. 3.
If Eyman gets enough signatures, the Legislature can vote the measure into law or decline to act, in which case it would go to voters next November for a decision. The Legislature could also come up with it’s own proposal and put that on the ballot as a competing measure.
Meanwhile, the state Public Disclosure Commission is investigating allegations around the financing of I-517. Jordan Schrader at The News Tribune wrote about the controversy in September. The PDC said the case is still pending.
Eyman said he believes the campaign is in compliance with the PDC record requirements. He also said finance reports have been updated since the News Tribune article was written.
State records show the political action committee sponsoring the measure, Protect Your Right to Vote on Initiatives, has raised roughly $300,000 in-kind contributions, primarily from an initiative advocacy group based in Virginia called Citizens in Charge.
Eyman said he’s working on I-517 along with Edward Agazarm, a long-time fixture on the initiative scene, and Paul Jacob, who is on the Citizens in Charge board of directors.
About this blog
Trending with readers