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Spin Control

Posts tagged: ballot measures

Sunday Spin: Gun inits duel over cop support

OLYMPIA – Law enforcement agencies may not be getting much love in most of the country after images of heavily armed cops filled news coverage of protests in Ferguson, Missouri. But here in Washington, the dueling gun initiatives are competing for the claim of “cops love my initiative better.” . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

 

Gun initiatives: Where the money comes from

The vast majority of money supporting the initiative to expand background checks on guns comes from just 10 ZIP codes in the Seattle area, much of it from people with ties to the state's tech industry.

An analysis of contributions reported to the state Public Disclosure Commission shows more than $2.8 million in contributions for Initiative 594 – or about 84 cents of every dollar contributed – comes from downtown Seattle, areas around Lake Washington and Shoreline. So far the ballot measure to extend background checks from licensed dealers to most private sales has raised about $3.2 million, about three times more than the the campaign for a counter proposal.

Protect Our Gun Rights’ big donors are a trio of groups opposed to further gun control measures. I-591 would only allow changes to Washington’s gun control laws unless a uniform national standard is adopted. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.


Documents:

Nazi comments continue to provide ammo to I-594 debate

A suggestion by an NRA spokesman that Jews should oppose gun control because of what happened in Nazi Germany has added new ammunition to the debate over two competing measures on the November ballot.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and others on Tuesday called for the resignation of NRA state lobbyist Brian Judy, who said recently he couldn't understand why Jews would support gun control, a policy instituted by the Nazis.

Judy reportedly was telling a group of gun rights advocates he couldn’t understand the support for Initiative 594 by a major donor whose family he said was “run out of Germany by the Nazis”. . . 

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Used practice targets left at League office

The League of Women Voters of Washington wants supporters of a gun-rights initiative to denounce the unknown group that left used targets at or near their office.

But supporters of Initiative 591 called the incidents a “propaganda stunt” the good government group is milking to get money for a rival ballot measure, I-594. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

Sunday Spin: Initiative fights continue after elections end

OLYMPIA – For a political reporter, state initiatives have become gifts that just keep on giving.

There have always been plenty of unusual ideas for ballot measures that crop up every spring, sort of like dandelions in the political lawn, and knock-down campaign battles over the few that collect enough signatures to make the ballot.

Some measures manage to remain controversial long after voters approve or reject them. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

 

Signature gatherers could need to register

OLYMPIA — Paid signature-gatherers for statewide ballot measures would need to register with the Secretary of State and their employers would need to conduct background checks before hiring them under a bill approved Thursday by a House panel.

They would have to sign a statement saying they understand election laws, list what initiatives or referenda they are being paid to collect signatures, and couldn't collect signatures on other petitions for free at the same time. Companies that hire unregistered signature gatherers, or allow their employees to be paid for one ballot measure while collecting names on another for free could be fined $500 

The bill is the latest attempt to address concerns some legislators have expressed about the growth of paid-signature gathering for the statewide initiatives, which now rarely qualify for the ballot solely with volunteer staff. Several campaigns in recent years have had paid gatherers who turned in forged signatures.

Katie Blinn of the Secretary of State's elections office said the agency had opposed previous proposals but was supporting this measure because it does not require the signatures to be rejected if the person gathering names violates the law. A House appropriations subcommittee passed the bill on a 7-1 vote.

 

Sunday Spin2: New definition of victory?

In elections, victory is usually well-defined. You got the most votes. Period.

So it was a bit odd Thursday to get a post-election email from initiative guru Tim Eyman describing the results of the election as “7 measures, 7 votes, 7 victories”. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Tax advisory votes: How much effect?

Voters seeking extensive information from the usual sources on five statewide advisory measures before casting their ballots may be out of luck.

There are no high-powered campaigns for or against Advisory Votes 3 through 7. No statements pro or con in the state Voters Pamphlet. No web sites with videos or lists of endorsers…

 

To find out more about the tax advisory votes, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

 

GMO labeling measure losing steam?

The onslaught of commercials castigating Initiative 522, the genetically engineered food labeling measure on the November ballot, may be taking their toll.

A new survey by The Elway Poll shows support for I-522 has dropped precipitously in the last month. In September, about two-thirds of voters surveyed said they supported the measure, which requires many foods bought at the store to carry labels if they have genetically modified ingredients. Only about one voter in five opposed it.

In the latest poll, that support is down to 46 percent, and opposition up to 42 percent. With the poll's margin of error at 5 percent, that's a statistical tie. More concerning for supporters could be that it has dipped below 50 percent support, because undecided voters tend to vote No if they remain undecided at the point they must cast their ballots.

The Seattle Times broke down the Elway Poll numbers this week. King TV had similar results from a separate poll.

The latest Public Disclosure Commission reports show the No campaign, funded in large part by Monsanto, DuPont and large food and beverage companies contributing to the Grocery Manufacturers Association, have spent about $13.5 million. The Yes campaign, which has collected large amounts from some natural food and cosmetic product companies, but also has hundreds of small donations from Washington and around the country, has spent about $5.4 million.

  
  

Sunday Spin: Initiative sponsors go 0 for 84

OLYMPIA – Friday was a rare day in Washington state politics, although it went mostly unnoticed because it was rare for what didn’t happen rather than what did.

It was the deadline to turn in signatures for an initiative to the people to put on the November ballot an idea some would deem brilliant and others ridiculous. No one turned any in. . .

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No on I-522 money flooding in from out of state

OLYMPIA – In another sign that Washington will be the national battleground this fall over genetically altered foods, opponents of a ballot measure requiring those products to be labeled raised almost $1 million last month.

None of it came from Washington state. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

1 year for initiatives to get signatures? How about 2 years?

OLYMPIA – As state law enforcement officials began investigating more than 8,000 allegedly forged signatures for a pair of ballot measures, a legislative panel looked at changes to the century-old avenue for grass-roots democracy, the initiative process.

One suggestion the Senate Governmental Operations Committee aired out Thursday: Give initiative campaigns more time to circulate petitions.

“If we give citizens more time to get involved, you wouldn’t need paid signature gatherers,” Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, said. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Same-sex marriage foes concede defeat

Spokane County vote on Referendum 74 after Wednesday's ballot count.

OLYMPIA — Opponents of Referendum 74, this afternoon conceded that they will lose the fight over same-sex marriage in Washington.

The latest vote count has Ref. 74 passing with about 52 percent of the vote, or a lead of about 84,000 ballots.

On Wednesday, supporters of the measure declared victory, saying their analysis of ballot returns convinced them there was no way it would fail.  A spokesman for Preserve Marriage Washington, the group mounting the opposition campaign said at that time they believed there was “a path to victory” in later ballot returns.

Today, however, Joseph Backholm, the group's chairman, said the ballots counted Wednesday afternoon and evening showed they were not closing the gap. Instead, the gap was growing.

“We are disappointed in losing a tough election battle on marriage by a narrow margin,” he said.

To view the latest statewide results on Ref. 74, click here.

Backholm blamed the loss on Washington being “a deep blue state and one of the  most secular in the nation” as well as the disparity between the two campaigns in terms of fundraising. He insisted it was not “a turning point” for the nation.

“It's not a turning point when you win on your home turf,” Backholm insisted in a prepared statement.

Washington was one of three states to approve same-sex marriage in Tuesday's election. Same-sex couples will be able to apply for marriage licenses on Dec. 6, the day election results are certified and approved ballot measures become law.

Under state law, couples must wait three days after they get their license to marry.

Ref. 74 supporters declaring victory

OLYMPIA — Supporters of Referendum 74, the state ballot measure that would legalize same-sex marriage, are declaring victory this afternoon, even before any more ballots are counted from the general election.

Opponents say they aren't conceding.

 Washington United for Marriage scheduled an afternoon press conference to say that their analysis shows victory at hand. Spokesman Andy Grow said the campaign had “some of the best minds available” analyze the numbers from last night's ballot count and compare them with long-time voting trends. Based on the strong vote in King County, and the ballots that are likely still coming in, the lead will hold up, Grow said.

That statement prompted congratulations from other supporters, such as Gov. Chris Gregoire and state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, but skepticism from Preserve Marriage Washington, which spearheaded the opposition.

There hadn't been any new ballots counted since midnight,when WUM supporters described themselves as “cautiously optimistic” but urged patience, Andy Chip of Preserve Marriage said.

Opponents are still behind about 3.5 percentage points, with an estimated 1.3 million ballots still to count. “Although the math is difficult, there remains a path to victory,” Chip said.  

So what happens if the trends turn around in later ballot counts? “We will issue another statement,” Grow said. “But we don't think that's going to happen.”

For the record, Spin Control isn't ready to call this race yet, although it is clear that supporters are in a much better position than opponents.

Marijuana measure passes

Initiative 502, which legalizes recreational marijuana use for adults in Washington, will pass.

The Associated Press has called the race, and we here at Spin Control agree. It's at 56 percent yes to 44 percent no, and that's too big of a  margin to turn around.

Next up: A clash between the state and the federal government over conflicting marijuana laws.

On the Web: HuffPo profiles state Rep. Walsh

Another example of Washington state politicians getting ink elsewhere: Huffington Post looks at state Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, noting her stance in support of gay rights and same-sex marriage.

Spin Control readers with good memories might recall a post with a video of her floor speech during the House debate over the bill behind what became Referendum 74.

Ref 74 gets $25,000 from Brad Pitt

The campaign to pass same-sex marriage in Washington state got a contribution Wednesday that is far from it's biggest, but may be from one of its most celebrated donors: Actor Brad Pitt.

And you thought he was busy making perfume commercials.

Pitt recently gave $100,000 to the Washington, D.C., based Human Rights Campaign, which divided that among the four states where same-sex marriage campaigns are being waged: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

It's like one of those public radio pledge drive match arrangements. Pitt is promising to match contributions from other donors. HRC says he sent this message by e-mail: “If you're like me, you don't want to have to ask yourself on the day after the election, what else could I have done?”

WA poll: Gov race tied, ballot measures ahead

Washington's gubernatorial race was tied in a recent poll of state voters, while ballot measures for same-sex marriage, legalized marijuana and charter schools were all leading.

The poll of 500 voters last week as the ballots hit the mail had Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee each with support from 46 percent of those surveyed. Inslee is ahead in King County and North Puget Sound, while McKenna leads in other parts of Western Washington and in Eastern Washington. McKenna's ahead among men, Inslee among women.

In other words, it looks like your typical tight Democrat vs. Republican race.

The pollsters didn't ask a “horse race” question on the U.S. Senate race, but it did ask about voters opinions of incumbent Maria Cantwell and challenger Mike Baumgartner. Good news for Cantwell: While Congress has pretty low approval ratings in the country, 53 percent said they had a favorable opinion of her, slightly better than seatmate Patty Murray's rating of 51 percent.

Bad news for Baumgartner: Relatively few voters surveyed — 22 percent statewide and 29 percent in Eastern Washington — had any opinion , good or bad, of the Spokane legislator. The rest were either unfamiliar with the name or had no opinion of him.

Initiative 502, which would legalize marijuana for adult use, Referendum 74, which would legalize same-sex marriage, and Initiative 1240, which would allow public charter schools, all had support from more than half of those surveyed. But with the poll's margin of error of 4.4 percent, all could be close to pulling down a majority in the election.

 

I-502 puts former feds in TV ad

Those wondering what the Initiative 502 would do with that boatload of money it is sitting on have at least part of an answer. Today they unveiled a television ad that features three federal law enforcement types — two former district attorneys and one former FBI agent — arguing that legalizing marijuana would be a good thing.

A copy of the ad can be found here.

Kate Pflaumer was the U.S. attorney for Western Washington under Bill Clinton, and John McKay had the job under George W. Bush. Also on the ad is Charles Mandigo, was once the special agent in charge in Seattle. McKay and Mandigo both testified at a legislative hearing earlier this year in favor of the change in law.

I-502 would legalize marijuana use in Washington for adults in many instances. The pro campaign, which is called New Approach Washington, has collected more than $4.8 million, but has spent only about half of it so far.

A check of the Public Disclosure Commission records shows that total is driven in part by some big out-of-state donations, including $1.7 million from Peter Lewis of Mayfield Village, Ohio, the retired board chairman of Progressive Insurance, and 1.3 million from Drug Policy Action, the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York based group working on changing drug laws. Biggest Washington donor is Rick Steves, noted travel writer and marijuana activist, who's in for $350,000.

The No campaign, which goes by the name Safe Access has raised about $9,300, much of it from medical marijuana operations which oppose the law, Another group, No on I 502, has raised just under $5,800. Those totals are a bit dated, because neither has reported any contributions or expenditures since the end of August.

Update: Both sides of Ref. 74 campaign in Spokane Tuesday

Expect some action tomorrow for the forces for and against Referendum 74, the ballot measure to affirm the law allowing same-sex marriage in Washington.

The Family Policy Institute of Washington, which is opposing Ref. 74, has invited Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator and GOP presidential candidate, to speak at a luncheon at the DoubleTree Hotel at noon. Tickets are $36, and more info is available by calling 425-608-0242.

Update: Clergy members supporting Ref 74 will hold a “rally for love” in the nearby Convention Center Plaza, with the Rev. Happy Watkins as the keynote speaker, starting at 11:45 a.m.  The local pro-Ref 74 folks are planning a rally starting at 11:15 a.m. at the “grassy area in front of the DoubleTree.”

Meanwhile, Washington United for Marriage, the main campaign organization, is releasing a new ad to counter Santorum. It features state Rep. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, who spoke passionately in favor of the bill when it was in front of the House earlier this year.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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