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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

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.

Turnout is a percentage of the number of registered voters who cast ballots, and registration went up a bit faster than the number of ballots cast. Official state turnout for 2008 was 84.6 percent (3,071,587 ballots/3,630,118 voters). 

Official turnout for 2012 is 81.25 percent (3,172,939/3,904,959)

State law for the validation of initiatives and referenda relies on the number of ballots cast for governor, which was 3,079,639. (There's always some folks who mark their ballot for other things, but don't mark it in the governor's race)

An initiative will need valid signatures from 8 percent of that number, or 246,372, up about 5,000. A referendum will need 4 percent, or 123,186, up about 2,500.

To be comfortable about their prospects for actually making the ballot, the Secretary of State's office suggests getting about 25 percent more than the minimum...but that's enough math for one morning. If you're planning an initiative or referendum next year, you can pull out a calculator at your leisure.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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