Allegations of petition fraud surround two 2013 initiatives in Washington
By Al Ortiz
OLYMPIA, Washington: This week, two Initiatives to the Legislature came under investigation of initiative fraud. The two initiatives - Initiative 517 and Initiative 522 - were previously approved for legislative review after it was found that enough signatures were gathered.
Following a probe by the Washington Elections Division, it was confirmed that the three signatures gatherers collected over 8,000 signatures, with multiple signatures, names and addresses not matching those on file.
The information will be turned over to the State Patrol for potential prosecution, which could result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman stated that the petition fraud developments could lead to tougher restrictions.
The two initiatives are still considered valid because supporters gathered more than enough signatures to meet the requirement threshold.
A minimum of about 241,000 signatures were required to advance the proposals to the lawmaking body. If the legislature chooses not to adopt the measures, they would then appear on the 2013 ballot.
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.
- Washington 2013 ballot measures
- Washington signature requirements
- Laws governing the initiative process in Washington