This year’s election doesn’t have a ton of high profile races, but those on the ballot in Washington state and some cities could have a big impact, both locally and nationally.

I-522 would require the labeling of certain foods and seeds containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Opponents have broken the record for the most money raised by an initiative campaign. “No on 522” raised over $21 million to defeat the measure, much of that coming from food companies like Coca-Cola, General Mills and Nestle USA, as well as biochemical companies like Monsanto.


Read More: here

Oregon: Stuffing the ballot

Mon, Nov 4 2013 — Source: Register-Guard

The initiative and referendum process has been an empowering and, often, mind-numbing exercise for Oregon’s electorate. More than a hundred ballot measures have been voted on in a dozen primary and general elections, and a half-dozen special elections, since the turn of the century, including 12 measures in November 2008 and a whopping 26 measures in November 2000.

The folks over at Ballotpedia, Planet Earth’s No. 1 wiki on election-related matters, have released a list of the “5 Most Notable Ballot Measures” in tomorrow’s election. Here are the five:

Amendment 66 (Colorado) - Tax Increase for Education,_Amendment_66_%282013%29

Initiative 522 (Washington) - Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Food Measure

The National Taxpayers Union released their “2013 General Election Ballot Guide: A Taxpayer’s Perspective” this week. The guide features a state-by-state run-down of “measures, propositions, initiatives, referenda, proposals, and amendments … listed by state with subheadings for statewide, countywide, and local issues.”

One noteworthy endorsement is of Washington state’s Initiative 517, or the “Protect the Initiative Act.” NTU gives I-517 a positive rating for its provisions which bolster the initiative process.

Now, finally, a story in the Seattle Times reports the latest Elway Poll results for Initiative 517. Unlike the 40 point closing from YES to NO on I-522, I-517 showed only a nine-point tightening from last month’s results. The Elway Poll was conducted Oct. 13-15, before any TV or radio advertising by the NO side, and found 52 percent support against only 25 percent opposition, and 23 percent undecided.

But the Seattle Times story spun the Elway Poll by combining it with a Moore Information survey, conducted Oct. 23-25, reporting that, “Two recent polls indicate Tim Eyman’s initiative on initiatives, I-517, is losing ground.”

With just over a week to go before the November 5th general election, Washington’s Initiative 517, which concerns the initiative and referendum process in the state, is opposed by a narrow margin.  After hearing the ballot question, 33% of voters plan to or have already voted “yes,” while 40% plan to or have voted “no.” The remaining 27% are undecided or wouldn’t reveal their vote.

Importantly, intensity is stronger on the “no” side – among those who have yet to cast their ballots, 21% say they are a “definite” no vote, while only 11% are a definite “yes” vote.

Read more: here

Two recent polls indicate Tim Eyman’s initiative on initiatives, I-517, is losing ground.

A poll by Moore Information, out of Portland, shows more voters opposing the measure than supporting it. And a Stuart Elway poll, out of Seattle, found a shrinking majority of voters supporting I-517.

With the November 5th election just one week away, opponents of Initiative 517 in Washington are spending more than $600,000 on radio and TV ads twisting the provisions of the “Protect the Initiative Act.”  The money against I-517 has come exclusively from corporate interests such as Safeway, Kroger and the Washington Retail Association – each chipping in $100,000 to oppose 517. 

Even the Washington State Hospital Association has come out against 517, feverishly claiming that the law would allow petitioners to collect signatures outside of hospitals, even though they already currently have the right to do so. (For obvious reasons, hospitals are not good places to petition.)

With less than two weeks before the Nov. 5 election and early voting already well underway, the No on I-517 PAC has gone up with a statewide television advertising campaign. While it is not clear precisely how much is being spent on the TV buy, the No on I-517 group has raised over $500,000 with almost all the funding coming from four sources: Washington Retail Association ($105,000), Kroger, Inc. ($103,000), Safeway, Inc. ($103,000) and the Washington Food Industry Association ($80,000).

In an op-ed posted to his personal Facebook page, the sponsor of Washington’s Initiative 522 regarding genetically modified food, Chris McManus spoke out strongly in favor of Initiative 517 also on the state’s Nov. 5, 2013 ballot.

McManus was especially enamored with the provisions of I-517 that provide protection from intimidation for petitioners and potential signers.  He cited an incident where verbal abuse was spouted at petitioners and, despite a police report being filed, nothing was done by authorities to punish the individuals instigating the harassment.

The goal of Initiative 517 is to grease the skids on the signature gathering process. This latest Tim Eyman initiative is different from some of his others, in that some of his long time opponents are lining up to back it.

One of them is Stoney Bird of Bellingham, who supported a 2012 citizens measure against coal trains rolling through the community.

Read More: here

nitiative 517 sets penalties for interfering with or retaliating against signature-gatherers and petition signers, requires all measures receiving sufficient signatures appear on the ballot, and expands the time for gathering initiative petition signatures from six months to one year.

“The most important thing that Initiative 517 does is it guarantees a voter the right to vote on any initiative that qualifies for the ballot,” said Mark Baerwaldt, co-chair of Yes on 517.

Read More: here

The president of a Washington state property rights group endorsed a YES vote on the pro-initiative Initiative 517 and called charges from opponents that the measure violates the property rights of businesses: “bogus.”

Citizens Alliance for Property Rights President Preston Drew, in a letter to the Snoqualmie Valley Record, wrote:

A news segment on KLEW in Pullman, Washington, profiled I-517 and a local debate at the Pullman League of Women Voters held on Tuesday, October 15.

Proponents of I-517 spoke up to defend the initiative, such as Ted Weatherly, who said, “517 makes citizen participation safer, and guarantees people’s right to vote on initiatives.”

Opponents continue to state their case that petitioners already have protections and claim property rights could be violated if I-517’s provisions took effect.

An opponent of Initiative 522 – also on the ballot this November – Rob Rembert said, “What this really does, and they want, ultra-protection. And ultra-protection that violates the rights of others.”

In a brief news segment, KLEW discusses a debate in Washington state over the upcoming inititives to be voted upon, including I-517.

Watch the video here: here