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Difference between revisions of "Washington "Protect the Initiative Act", Initiative 517 (2013)"

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The campaign in opposition to the measure is [ No on I-517].
The campaign in opposition to the measure is [ No on I-517].[[File:NOon517.png|right|400px|Washington I-517]]

Revision as of 14:19, 30 September 2013

Washington Initiative 517
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Type:Initiative to the Legislature
Referred by:Citizens
Topic:Direct democracy
Status:On the ballot
Washington "Protect the Initiative Act", Initiative 517, is on the November 5, 2013 ballot in Washington as a Initiative to the Legislature.

The measure would implement penalties for intimidating, harassing, interfering with or retaliating against petition drive efforts for a ballot initiative.[1] The measure was sponsored by Tim Eyman.[1]

In addition, the measure would require that all initiative efforts that obtain the valid amount of signatures have their proposals placed on the ballot.

Other provisions include:

  • Limit pre-election legal challenges
  • Extend the time given for signatures to be collected for the ballot.

Text of measure

Ballot text

The following is the ballot text on file with the Washington Secretary of State's office:[1]

Initiative Measure No. 517 concerns initiative and referendum measures.

This measure would set penalties for interfering with or retaliating against signature-gatherers and petition-signers; require that all measures receiving sufficient signatures appear on the ballot; and extend time for gathering initiative petition signatures.

Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ][2]


The following is the ballot measure summary of the proposal:

"This measure would define terms concerning interfering with or retaliating against petition-signers and signature-gatherers, and would make such conduct a criminal misdemeanor and subject to anti-harassment laws. The measure would require that all state and local measures receiving enough signatures be placed on the ballot, limiting pre-election legal challenges. The measure would also extend the time for filing initiatives and gathering signatures from ten to sixteen months before the election when the vote would occur."[1]

The full text of the initiative can be found here.


Washington I-517
The measure was sponsored by Tim Eyman. The campaign supporting the measure is run by Yes on 517.


  • According to Yes on 517's campaign website, among other arguments in favor of the measure, "Collecting signatures on initiative petitions is protected by our state and Federal Constitutions. The First Amendment says the people are guaranteed the right to “petition their government.” Nonetheless, people who collect voter signatures are regularly harassed. I-517 sets penalties for anyone who interferes with or retaliates against signature-gatherers or petition-signers. I-517 makes it safe for people to exercise their right to participate in the initiative process."[3]
Official I-517 petition

The arguments presented in favor of Initiative 517 in the official voter guide include:

  • "Opponents of initiatives too often use bullying to prevent citizens from signing initiatives they support. Voters who want to sign a petition – liberal or conservative – deserve protection from bullying and retaliation. I-517 establishes penalties to discourage such bad behavior. Peaceful discussion is legal under I-517; bullying is not."[4]
  • "Initiative 517 makes citizen participation safer and guarantees the people’s right to vote on initiatives. Without I-517, entrenched politicians and special interests will continue bullying citizens from expressing their free speech rights and blocking voters from exercising their initiative rights."[4]


In March 2013 the Public Disclosure Commission announced an investigation into complaints that the initiative's supporters violated campaign finance laws. The complaint alleges that the campaign did not register on time and failed to deliver timely and detailed finance reports. The complaint was filed by Sherry Bockwinkel, a former director of a signature-gathering company.[5]

Campaign contributions

This data was obtained from the Public Disclosure Commission and is current as of September 16, 2013. The following are committees registered in support of Initiative 517:

PAC info:

PAC Amount raised Amount spent
Protect Your Right to Vote on Initiatives $305,454 $305,454
Yes on I-517 $1,528 $1,528
Total $306,982 $306,982


The campaign in opposition to the measure is No on I-517.
Washington I-517


The arguments presented in favor of Initiative 517 in the official voter guide include:

  • I-517 violates Washingtonians' property rights because property owners would not have control over whether or not signature gathering occurs on his or her premises. Business owners would not be able to prevent signature gatherers from impeding customers trying to enter or exit a storefront.
  • The passage of I-517 directly benefits its sponsor, Tim Eyman - who makes a living off of promoting initiatives - by making it easier and less expensive for him to put more initiatives on future ballots.

Other arguments against the measure include:

  • On July 8, 2013, Assistant Director of Policy for the Secretary of State’s Office Katie Blinn, said, "We do receive many calls each spring from voters who are complaining about signature gatherers harassing them, and signature gatherers misstating the text of the measures. We also receive inquiries from store owners/managers asking how they can remove the signature gatherers from their property."Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag
  • Steve Gano, a lobbyist for Wal-Mart, argued that customers deserve protection from petitioners who are harassing them.[6]

Campaign contributions

This data was obtained from the Public Disclosure Commission and is current as of September 16, 2013. The following are committees registered in opposition to Initiative 517:

PAC info:

PAC Amount raised Amount spent
No I-517 $41,516 $24,057
Stop Tim Eyman's Profit Machine: No on 517 $8,101 $8,101
Total $49,617 $32,158


See also: Polls, 2013 ballot measures
  • A survey by Elway Poll conducted September 3-5, 2013, found that 19% would "definitely" vote for the amendment, 39% would "probably" vote for it, 22% would vote against it and 20% were undecided. A total of 406 likely voters were polled with margin of error at +/-5%.[7]
Washington Initiative 517 - Support v. Opposition
Poll Support OppositionUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Elway Poll (September 3-5, 2013)
Moore Information (October 23-24, 2013)
AVERAGES 45.5% 31% 23.5% +/-4.5 453
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to

On September 10, 2013, The Elway Poll put out the following information regarding the two Washington 2013 Initiatives to the Legislature:[8]

Washington 2013 ballot measures

Path to the ballot

See also Initiatives to the Legislature in Washington

A total of 246,372 signatures are needed to place a measure before Washington Legislature. If the legislature does not enact the measure, it would then be sent to the ballot. The deadline for the submission of those signatures to the Washington Secretary of State was January 4, 2013.

The Washington Secretary of State's office reported that supporters submitted about 345,000 signatures on January 3, 2013. The secretary of state then began the process of determining how many signatures are valid.[9]

Signature verification begins as Elections Division worker checks signatures for I-517

On January 23, 2013, the Washington Secretary of State's office stated that the initiative cleared signature verification, sending the proposal to the state legislature. In addition to enacting it or sending it to the ballot, the legislature can also send the measure to the ballot with a competing measure. This would allow voters to choose which of the two measures to approve.[10]

The initiative was approved by the Senate Committee on Governmental Operations on February 19 and passed to the Rules Committee.[11]

The 2013 state legislative session ended on April 28, 2013, with no resolution from the legislature. The measure will now go before voters in the 2013 general election.

See also

Suggest a link

External links