Pair of Washington initiatives to turn in signatures early (Updated)
By Al Ortiz
According to the Washington Secretary of State, the pair of circulating petition efforts planned to file their signatures a day before the January 4 deadline.
Both proposals are initiatives to the legislature, which means that if a petition for a certain initiative has enough signatures, it is sent to the state legislature for review. If the legislature chooses not to enact the proposal, it is then sent to the statewide ballot that year.
One initiative, Initiative 517, would implement penalties for intimidating, harassing, interfering or retaliating against petition drive efforts for a ballot initiative. In addition, the measure would require that all initiative efforts that obtain the required amount of signatures be placed on the ballot. 
More provisions of the proposed law can be read here.
The other initiative, Initiative 522, would require GMO labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways.
Just down the road, California voters pulled their levers on Proposition 37, a measure that ultimately lead to a similar requirement.
Initiative 517 was scheduled to turn in signatures at 10 a.m. PST, while Initiative 522 was scheduled to turn in signatures at 1 p.m. PST.
Update (10:37 a.m. PST)
- Ballotpedia contacted the Washington Secretary of State's office and learned that supporters of Initiative 517 turned in petition signatures at 10:00 a.m. PST. The number of signatures turned has not been confirmed.
Update (11:40 a.m. PST)
- Reports out of the state say that the initiative's sponsors turned in about 345,000 signatures. Signatures must be reviewed by the Washington Secretary of State's office.
Update (1:21 p.m. PST)
- Ballotpedia contacted the Washington Secretary of State's office, where it was confirmed that the supporters of Initiative 522 had submitted signatures and were speaking with the press at that time. The amount of signatures submitted by supporters was not immediately known.
In an e-mail to Ballotpedia, Kay Ramsay of the Washington Secretary of State's Elections office stated that supporters of Initiative 522 had submitted about 19,000 signatures on January 3, and plan to turn in more before the 5:00 p.m. deadline on January 4. According to reports out of the state, the group will submit about 350,000 signatures.
- Washington 2013 ballot measures
- Washington signature requirements
- Laws governing the initiative process in Washington
- ↑ Washington Secretary of State, "2013 initiatives to Legislature launched this week", January 2, 2013
- ↑ The Republic, "Initiative 517 would set penalties for harassment of initiative petition signers, gatherers", January 3, 2012
- ↑ University Place, "Initiative Seeks GMO Food Labels in Washington State", January 4 ,2013