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INITIATIVES: We need to guard against paid, out-of-state signature gatherers

Letter by Mica Powers, Seattle on Feb. 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm with 10 Comments »
February 18, 2011 2:04 pm

Re: “Initiative reform: First, show us the problem” (editorial, 2-17).
I solidly support Rep. Chris Reykdal’s legislation on ballot measure reform and believe it protects the initiative process.
As the editorial mentioned, most ballot measures qualify these days due to paid signature gatherers. We rarely see a true grass-roots effort. Last year, we saw almost total corporate domination. Wal-Mart, Costco, British Petroleum and other large corporations were the major funders behind the initiatives. We also saw hordes of out-of-state paid signature gatherers. You have to question what happened to our citizen initiative process.
Reykdal is simply trying to protect our initiative process from the abuse other states have seen. We’ve largely been insulated, but fraud, forgery and ID theft are prevalent in other states.  
Now that corporations know they can smack down a few million (or, in the case of the American Beverage Association, $16 million) to buy laws that benefit them, we’ll probably be seeing a lot more out-of-state paid signature gatherers.
Tim Eyman wants you to think it’s about him. He loves the spotlight and wants a pity party, but this isn’t about him. Reykdal is just trying to ensure that out-of-state signature gatherers don’t bring their unscrupulous practices here.        
This is great foresight.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. Mica, let the people vote on issues if they want to.

    You and I may disagree with the voters, but it’s Democracy at it’s finest.

    Not letting folks vote tells me you think the voters are too stupid to decide their own future. Maybe so, but it’s their future to decide.

    From what I’ve read, there is nothing to be gained by approving this bill outside of placing more roadblocks in the way of folks constitutional rights.

  2. hortonpeak says:

    Then let the folks who actually vote on the issues collect the signatures. This has nothing to do with limiting people’s right to vote but is rather about having a bunch of out of state paid signature gatherers collect the signatures. People who think many of those folks collecting signatures are concerned Washington citizens are being deceived. I support this bill 100%.

  3. If the intitiative is popular enough to pass a vote by the people, what does it matter who collects signatures?
    Where does it mandate that signature gathers must be “concerned citizens”?
    Hyperbole much?

  4. Now that I think about it… where’s the concern about the real problem facing our election process? I mean, why not make a law requiring a person show proper ID before they are allowed to vote?
    Good grief…

  5. hortonpeak says:

    Well, whatido, hyperbole much. Think about it.

  6. mattersnot1 says:

    Only registered voters can sign petitions, so what difference does it make who is gathering the signatures? Geezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! Think about it. The voters are the grassroots.

  7. nwcolorist says:

    The function of paid signature gathers is to assist in the passage of a particular political “bill” called an initiative. There are droves of lobbyists in Olympia that get paid to assist in the passage of various bills through the Legislature.

    Wouldn’t it make sense that the laws be similar, since the purpose is similar? Maybe that’s asking too much for politics.

  8. The Politicans would love to get rid of the inititive process so they could cram whatever they wanted down the voters throat and the voters would not have any recource against them.This would be just another freedom lost ,never to be seen again!I fear those that are for Reykdals Bill don’t see the real danger this bill presents and the backers of the bill are counting on this oversight.This is akin to not reading the fine print on any contract you sign.

  9. Roncella says:

    Mica, I would not concern myself about out of state signature gatherers.

    I would concern myself with illegals coming here especially from our southern border states and also across our northern border with canada.

    These illegals are costing us Millions of dollars and will eventually bankrupt not only our state but the Country as well.

    We need to get border security and establish a system to register or return many of the illegals already here. Nothing can be accomplished until the Border is safe guarded completely, only then can a system be put in place.

  10. humourologist says:

    I agree that money spent on directly appealing to the people is the same as lobbying congress, but both are legal. We could outlaw out-of-state what? companies? does it make a substantive difference if the signature gatherer lives here or not, outside of keeping local money here? I think plenty of our citizens would take $1 per signature at the local Fred Meyer, regardless of the cause, as well.

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