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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Initiative 1401

Election Results

Option Votes Pct
Yes 633,514 70.91%
No 259,834 29.09%

* Race percentages are calculated with data from the Secretary of State's Office, which omits write-in votes from its calculations when there are too few to affect the outcome. The Spokane County Auditor's Office may have slightly different percentages than are reflected here because its figures include any write-in votes.

About The Measure

Proposal: Would extend new protections to certain animal species, many of them on endangered or threatened lists, with new penalties for selling them or products made from them.

Background: Trade in endangered animal parts, such as ivory, turtle shells or shark fins, is covered by international treaties and federal law makes it illegal to import or sell those animals or their parts. Washington state doesn’t prohibit most of those sales. This initiative would create state penalties of up to $4,000 for trafficking in those animals or products, with some exceptions for antiques, scientific purposes and musical instruments.

Supporting: Animal rights groups, zoos, environmental organizations and the Humane Society support the measure. They contend it will help keep some endangered species from going extinct, particularly elephants that are being targeted by poachers in Africa for their ivory. The Seattle and Tacoma ports are entry points for these products for the United States, which is a major market, and a new law would allow state authorities help stop that trade. Save Animals Facing Extinction, the campaign committee, has raised $2.5 million and spent about $1.3 million on signature-gathering. Its biggest donor is Paul Allen, Microsoft founder, who has contributed more than $1.5 million.

Opposing: Legal Ivory Rights Coalition says I-1401 won’t stop poaching in other countries, and trafficking in poached ivory is already a federal felony. Instead, it’s likely to target ivory that is legally crafted, sold and purchased in Washington. The antique exemption included in the proposal is a sham because it only applies to items at least 100 years-old with records to prove it. Anything acquired legally should stay legal. The coalition has set up a political committee, but had reported any contributions as of the end of September.

Complete Coverage

I-1401 ivory restrictions might have little impact in Spokane

Even before I-1401 passed, jewelry and other items made of ivory were rare in Spokane stores.

Animal protection, tax restriction measures passing

Washington voters gave overwhelming support to a new law to protect endangered animals, and seemed likely to pass by a much smaller margin another attempt to force the Legislature to approve tax increases by a supermajority.

Elway Poll: Voters split on tax initiative; animal measure leading

Voters are evenly split on the latest initiative that would require supermajorities to approve taxes but seem strongly in favor of one that would have extra penalties for selling ivory and products from endangered animals, a new Elway Poll says.

I-1401 would add state protection for some endangered animals

Initiative 1401 takes aim at poachers, but opponents say it’s a feel-good measure that will create problems for people who have legal ivory.

Sunday Spin: Of David and the G-man

One of the most popular images used in politics for candidates who are under-funded or over-matched is David and Goliath. When should it be invoked, and by whom?

Sue Lani Madsen: More red tape won’t save the elephants

Initiative 1401 is an exercise in ineffective redundancy that will do little to curb the poaching of elephants and other magnificent animals.

Today’s fun fact: It’s World Elephant Day

Happy World Elephant Day. If you have lunch with an elephant today, you should pick up the tab.

Endangered species initiative to be on ballot

OLYMPIA — An initiative calling for a crackdown in trafficking of endangered species has enough signatures to go on the November ballot.