I-695 opens gates for initiative flood

By WARREN CORNWALL and ERIC STEVICK

Herald Writers

On the heels of last year’s sweeping victory for Initiative 695, the largest number of ballot initiatives since 1914 are poised for the Washington ballot this fall.

Six initiatives addressing everything from teacher pay to property taxes reached the signature-gathering finish line Friday with estimates of more than 250,000 signatures, the commonly accepted benchmark to qualify for the Nov. 7 ballot.

"It’s going to be a fascinating fall," said Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro, whose office oversees elections.

Things got interesting at his office late Friday afternoon when sponsors of a seventh initiative to abolish the state property tax may have missed their chance by minutes, arriving to turn in signatures two minutes after Munro’s office closed its door.

Petitions must be turned in before 5 p.m. to be valid, and Initiative 717 backers knocked on the door at 5:02, said Secretary of State spokesman Greg Nordlund.

That would make the signatures invalid, unless sponsors successfully dispute the timing in court, he said.

"They may be challenging the clock," he said.

I-717 sponsors did not return The Herald’s phone calls Friday.

Definite answers about which initiatives reach the ballot may not come for weeks, as the Secretary of State’s office determines which got the roughly 180,000 valid signatures needed. Petitions often have duplicate or fraudulent signatures. However, 250,000 raw signatures is usually enough of a cushion, Munro said.

If six or seven do qualify, it will be the most in one election since the first time the initiative process was used in Washington in 1914, when voters cast ballots on seven.

Seeking to explain the surge in initiatives, experts pointed to the use of paid signature gatherers, lack of leadership in Olympia and the growing popularity of initiatives fueled by I-695’s success.

"I feel like 695’s love children are on the ballot this fall," said Tim Eyman, the Mukilteo businessman who ushered I-695 onto the ballot.

Credit professional, paid signature gatherers as well, said Mark A. Smith, a political science professor at the University of Washington who studies initiatives. Four of the most-signed initiatives this year hired companies that pay for each signature collected.

"It’s not quite down to a science," he said, "but they’ve tried to standardize it."

You can call Herald Writer Warren Cornwall at 425-339-3463 or send e-mail

tocornwall@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
On I-5 in Everett, traffic nightmare is reminder we’re ‘very vulnerable’

After a police shooting shut down the freeway, commutes turned into all-night affairs. It was just a hint of what could be in a widespread disaster.

Anthony Brock performs at Artisans PNW during the first day of the Fisherman’s Village Music Fest on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At downtown Everett musical festival: ‘Be weird and dance with us’

In its first night, Fisherman’s Village brought together people who “might not normally be in the same room together” — with big acts still to come.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Judge reduces bail for driver accused of killing Marysville trooper

After hearing from Raul Benitez Santana’s family, a judge decreased bail to $100,000. A deputy prosecutor said he was “very disappointed.”

Community Transit leaders, from left, Chief Communications Officer Geoff Patrick, Zero-Emissions Program Manager Jay Heim, PIO Monica Spain, Director of Maintenance Mike Swehla and CEO Ric Ilgenfritz stand in front of Community Transit’s hydrogen-powered bus on Monday, May 13, 2024, at the Community Transit Operations Base in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New hydrogen, electric buses get trial run in Snohomish County

As part of a zero-emission pilot program from Community Transit, the hydrogen bus will be the first in the Puget Sound area.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Video: Man charged at trooper, shouting ‘Who’s the boss?’ before shooting

The deadly shooting shut down northbound I-5 near Everett for hours. Neither the trooper nor the deceased had been identified as of Friday.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Road rage, fatal police shooting along I-5 blocks traffic near Everett

An attack on road workers preceded a report of shots fired Thursday, snarling freeway traffic in the region for hours.

The Port of Everett and Everett Marina on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Is Port of Everett’s proposed expansion a ‘stealth tax?’ Judge says no

A Snohomish resident lost a battle in court this week protesting what he believes is a misleading measure from the Port of Everett.

Pablo Garduno and the team at Barbacoa Judith’s churn out pit-roasted lamb tacos by the dozen at the Hidden Gems Weekend Market on Sunday, April 28, 2024, at Boom City in Tulalip, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Eating our way through Tulalip’s Hidden Gems weekend market

Don’t miss the pupusas, pit-roasted lamb tacos, elotes and even produce for your next meal.

Reed Macdonald, magniX CEO. Photo: magniX
Everett-based magniX appoints longtime aerospace exec as new CEO

Reed Macdonald will take the helm at a pivotal time for the company that builds electric motors for airplanes.

A guitarist keeps rhythm during Lovely Color’s set on the opening night of Fisherman’s Village on Thursday, May 18, 2023, at Black Lab in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
No matter what music you’re into, Fisherman’s Village has a hook for you

From folk to psychedelic pop to hip-hop, here’s a quick guide to artists you might want to check out in downtown Everett.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.