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Spin Control

Posts tagged: signatures

Guess which elected official uses this signature

Hint: It belongs to a Spokane City Council member.

(The three dots that are at the bottom of this image are not part of this official's signature.)

More signatures needed for initiatives

OLYMPIA — The turnout was down slightly in Washington state compared to the 2008 presidential election, but the number of ballots cast was up.

That means the number of signatures needed for initiatives and referenda goes up next year.

Huh? We explain inside the blog. Click here to read more, or to comment.

Charter school fans spent $2 million for signatures

OLYMPIA — Supporters of a ballot measure to put charter schools on the Washington ballot for the fourth time paid more than $2 million to an out-of-state firm to gather the signatures that virtually assure them of a vote.

Reports filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission show the campaign for Initiative 1240 paid about $2.1 million to PCI Consultants Inc. of Calabasas, Calif. A spokeswoman for the campaign had refused to reveal the amount spent on signature-gathering, or the company that received it, when supporters turned in signatures last Friday.

That expenditure allowed I-1240 to gather about 350,000 signatures, almost 110,000 more  than the minimum required to qualify for the ballot, in a little more than three weeks. That's far more than the cushion recommended by the Secretary of State's office, and makes certification all but certain.

PCI has a long track record of gathering signatures for ballot measures in Washington, receiving a total of more than $8.3 million over the last seven years, campaign disclosulre records show. It was paid to gather signatures last year for I-502, the marijuana legalization proposal on this year's ballot, as well as for an initiative that required more training for home health care workers and one that would require more humane treatment of farm animals. In 2010, it was paid to gather signatures for a proposal to impose an income tax on upper income residents and for one of two plans to end state control of liquor sales.

All but the farm animal initiative reached the ballot. But of the three that went before voters in the last two general elections, only I-1163, the home health care worker proposal, passed.

The $2.1 million may represent a record expense for signatures to get an initiative on the Washington ballot. PDC records show it far exceeds any previous payment to PCI from a client and also outstrips the reported costs of gathering signatures for last year's liquor sales initiative, about $1.12 million.

The signature campaign for the charter schools initiative was bankrolled by some of the big names in Washington's high tech industry, including $1 million from Bill Gates, $100,000 from Paul Allen and $450,000 from members of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos's family.

I-1240 would allow the school districts or nonprofits to open as many as 40 charter schools over five years, which would be held to the same teacher certification and performance requirements as standard public schoos, but exempt from some laws and district policies. The per-pupil allotment from the state would bo to the charter school.

Referendum signatures forged

OLYMPIA — State officials doing the check on petitions submitted for the same-sex marriage referendum say they found what they suspect are about 1,000 forged signatures. . .

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Judge allows initiative signatures to be released

OLYMPIA — Washington state can release the signatures on initiative and referendum petitions for all ballot measures except the one still tied up in federal court, a state judge said Friday morning.

Thurston County Superior Court Richard Hicks, dissolved an injunction that was keeping the Secretary of State’s office from filling public records requests for 11 different petition drives, most of them for initiatives sponsored by Tim Eyman. The U.S. Supreme Court previously ruled in a separate case there is no basis for a blanket ban on releasing the names on initiative petitions and  has sent  that case back to federal court in Seattle on whether the sponsors of Referendum 71 can prove there are special circumstances regarding their ballot measure to block the release of names.

But the names on petitions for the other initiatives requested by Bryan Wahl, a Mountlake Terrace lobbyist, Hicks said can be released. State attorneys had argued some 2 million  names of petition signers had been released over the last six years without incident.

David Ammons, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, said the names would be released sometime Friday or early next week.

And then there were 3…initiatives for sure on the ballot.

OLYMPIA — Initiative 1098, which would place an income tax on individuals who make more than $200,000 a year, and couples who make more than $400,000, has enough valid signatures to make the ballot.

This despite having about 350 signatures pulled out because the person who gathered them is suspected of fraud.

The state Elections Office said it checked 11,876 signatures and 10,090 were good. The rest were people who weren’t registered, or the signature on the sheet didn’t match the one on file, or they were duplicates. That’s a validation rate that’s fairly normal for petition drives.

The campaign turned in about 385,000 signatures, and needed less than 242,000 good ones.

So I-1098 becomes the third of six initiatives that to go from  almost certain to for sure. I-1100, the first of two proposals to get the state out of the liquor business, qualified first. I-1082, which would add private insurance to the mix for workers compensation coverage in Washington, qualified on Tuesday.

Income tax initiative petitions in, others to come

OLYMPIA—Supporters of Initiative 1098, which would place an income tax on so-called “high earners” turned in signatures Thursday morning, making them the third statewide ballot measure to haul bozes of petitions into the Secretary of State’s office.

Four other campaigns say they’ll be there before 5 p.m. Friday, which is the drop-dead date for any statewide initiative to come up with 241,153 valid signatures from registered Washington voters.

Among those scheduling a petition drop on Friday are supporters of Initiative 1068, which would legalize adult use of marijuana. It’s tentative, because they told the Secretary of State’s office earlier this week they had about 200,000 signatures, but were getting more every day. They have a tentative appointment for 4:20 p.m. 

Get it? 4:20? If you do, you’ll probably vote yes on I-1068 if it makes the ballot.

To review the status of what’s in, and what’s coming in, go inside the blog.

Supremes schedule R-71 hearing

OLYMPIA — The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on April 28 whether the names on ballot measure petitions are public records.

The Washington Secretary of State’s office announced this afternoon that the date has been set on a case that is getting national attention because it involves a series of First Amendment and public records issues.

The information at the heart of the case are the names and addresses on the petitions to put Referendum 71 on last fall’s ballot. After the Legslature expanded rights for same-sex couples last spring, opponents gathered signatures to let voters overturn the bill. Supporters of gay rights requested the names under the state’s public records law, but referendum sponsors objected, saying the signers could be subjected to harassment.

Although the state has previously released the names from initiative and referendum campaigns, judges have disagreed over whether the names in this case are public records. Most recently, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said they are, but that ruling is on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court decides the case.

Supreme Court will take Ref. 71 signature case

OLYMPIA — The U.S. Supreme Court granted a request to review the dispute on whether the names of people who sign a petition to put a law  before voters are public, and subject to release.

The high court today granted certiorari to the case Doe v Reed, and set it for a hearing as early as April. An exact date hasn’t been set.

The case involves a fight over the names and addresses of people who signed petitions to put Referendum 71 on last year’s November ballot. The referendum, which sought to overturn expanded rights for same sex and elderly heterosexual coupes, was sponsored by people opposed to gay marriage.

Supporters of gay rights filed a public records request for the names of everyone who signed the petition, Referendum backers objected, saying they feared the signers would be harassed.

Secretary of State Sam Reed and Attorney General Rob McKenna have said the names of people who sign initiative or referendum petitions are public under the state’s Public Records Act. Federal and state judges have disagreed. Most recently, a divided panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled they are public records, but the release of the names has been put on hold pending the appeal to the nation’s highest court.

Meanwhile, bills being introduced at the Legislature seek to declare the  names definitely are public or are exempt from released under the public records act.

High court to look at Ref. 71 case

The U.S. Supreme Court will take a peek at whether those names on the Referendum 71 petitions are public records or private info.

The Washington Secretary of State’s office, which says they are public records, announced today the Supremes have put the Ref. 71 issue on a list of cases they’ll review on Jan. 15. This could be the next step toward a full-blown appeal of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that they’re subject to release, or the end of the line for the fight.

The high court would be expected to announce that day or soon after whether they will take up the case, Brian Zylstra, deputy communications director, said.

For background on the case, go inside the blog.

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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.

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