Topic: Initiative 517
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November 5, 2013 at 7:01 AM
Update at 8:25 p.m.
Tim Eyman’s Initiative 517 did not pass. The measure was far behind in King County with 69 percent voting no and was losing heavily in Pierce and Snohomish counties as well.
The measure would have made signature-gathering easier.
Washington voters today will decide on a Tim Eyman initiative that would make it easier for sponsors like him to get measures on the ballot.
Initiative 517 would give initiative sponsors an additional six months to collect signatures, make it illegal for anyone to maintain “an intimidating presence” within 25 feet of a signature gatherer, and prohibit local government from blocking votes on ballot measures.
The initiative also contains language that opponents say would vastly expand where signature gatherers could go, including inside stadiums during Seahawks and Mariners games. Proponents disagree and say current restrictions would still apply.
I-517 started out as an initiative to the Legislature. At the time, Eyman said he was working on the measure along with Edward Agazarm, longtime owner of a signature-gathering firm, and Paul Jacob, who is with an initiative-advocacy group based in Virginia called Citizens in Charge.
When lawmakers did not act on the initiative this year, it was automatically placed on the Nov. 5 ballot.
October 29, 2013 at 12:24 PM
Two recent polls indicate Tim Eyman’s initiative on initiatives, I-517, is losing ground.
A poll by Moore Information, out of Portland, shows more voters opposing the measure than supporting it. And a Stuart Elway poll, out of Seattle, found a shrinking majority of voters supporting I-517.
I-517 is aimed at making like easier for initiative sponsors like Eyman. Among other things, it would give initiative sponsors an additional six months to collect signatures, make it illegal for anyone to maintain “an intimidating presence” within 25 feet of a signature gatherer, and prohibit local government from blocking votes on ballot measures.
The initiative also contains language that opponents say would vastly expand where signature gatherers could go, including inside stadiums during Seahawks and Mariners games. I-517 backers dispute that claim.
The Moore Information poll of 500 likely voters, taken Oct. 23-24, found 40 percent of the people who have already voted, or plan to, oppose the measure while 33 percent support it. Some 27 percent were undecided or would not discuss their vote. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
The Elway poll of 413 registered voters, taken Oct. 15-17, found 52 percent of the people surveyed support the measure, down from 58 percent in a September poll. The survey showed 25 percent opposed and 23 percent undecided. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
Elway, in his report, wrote that the measure was leading in every demographic category except Seattle voters.
September 10, 2013 at 10:23 AM
A new Elway Poll indicates strong support for two initiatives to the Legislature on the November ballot that would aid initiative signature gatherers, and require labeling of genetically-engineered food.
The poll of 406 registered voters, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points, found that 58 percent of the people surveyed supported Initiative 517 which, among other things, would set penalties for interfering with or retaliating against signature-gatherers and petition-signers.
Elway said in his report that “support for the measure comes from across the political spectrum … those at least ‘probably’” in favor included: 58 percent of Democrats; 62 percent of Republicans; 63 percent of independents; 56 percent of likely voters; 77 percent of voters under age 35; 56 percent of voters over 65.
In addition, the poll found that 66 percent of the voters surveyed supported Initiative 522, which would require most genetically engineered raw agricultural commodities, processed foods, and seeds and seed stocks to be labeled as such when offered for retail sale.
For that measure, Elway said found support “in every demographic category of voter interviewed. The strongest support—highest proportion “definitely” in favor—was among: Voters with incomes over $100,000 (54%); Democrats (50%); voters age 36-64 (48%); independents (42%); voters with incomes under $75,000 (46%); men (45%).”
Both measures were submitted to the state Legislature for consideration in January. With initiatives to the Legislature, state lawmakers can either enact the initiative into law, or send it to the general election ballot. Because no action was taken in either case, the measures automatically go to voters.
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.
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