Supporters of a $15 minimum wage in Seattle have asked King County prosecutors to investigate allegations that signature gatherers for a referendum that would put the measure to a vote in November are making fraudulent claims.
Signature gatherers for Forward Seattle, which opposes the $15 minimum wage, have told people that the measure would raise the minimum wage, according to a July 1 letter to King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg.
The complaint was brought by Yes for Seattle, a coalition of unions and businesses that back the $15 minimum-wage ordinance approved by the City Council and signed into law by Mayor Ed Murray in early June.
The measure, which takes effect in April, would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over seven years.
According to state law, it is illegal to interfere with the right of any voter to sign or not sign an initiative by threats, intimidation or any other “corrupt means or practice.”
The letter includes nine examples of misleading statements by Forward Seattle signature gatherers at eight different Seattle locations.
Angela Cough, Forward Seattle campaign chair, said her group provided a one-page fact sheet for signature gatherers which says clearly that the referendum would send the minimum wage to a public vote. The group has raised more than $46,000 to pay for signature gathering to qualify the referendum for the Seattle ballot.
Forward Seattle plans to turn in more than the required 16,500 signatures Wednesday.