Voters must focus with nine issues on ballot

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Brace yourself and pay attention. Over the next two months voters are going to be flooded with information -- much of it propaganda -- from those who support and oppose the nine measures on the Nov. 2 ballot.

It can be tough to get a handle on even two or three ballot measures. Understanding the ins and outs of six initiatives, two resolutions and one referendum is a huge task.

And what makes this even tougher than usual is that two of the initiatives are on the same subject -- regulating the sale of liquor -- and are contradictory.

Initiative 1100 and Initiative 1105 both call for the closure of state liquor stores. But I-1100 is sponsored by the retailers while I-1105 is being pushed by the wholesalers. The difference is in the details.

Over the next two months those pushing or opposing the various ballot measures are going to spend millions and millions of dollars letting you know how to vote.

Supporters of Initiative 1107, which essentially repeals the recently imposed taxes on candy, pop and bottled water, have already pumped a "monsoon of money" -- $10 million so far -- into their cause, according to a report this week in The Olympian newspaper.

If supporters of I-1107 spend all $10 million raised, it will be the most ever spent in favor of a ballot measure in the state. It would top the $9.5 million spent by doctors, insurers and hospitals to promote a medical malpractice measure in 2005. The most spent to fight a ballot measure was $11.6 million by insurers and others who fought Referendum 67's consumer protections in 2007, reported Brad Shannon, political editor of The Olympian.

"There is a lot going on in Washington state this fall. You have a major Senate race and a lot of initiatives. It's going to be a crowded field. You need to make sure you have the resources to make sure your messages get through," Kevin Keane, a senior vice president and spokesman for the American Beverage Association, told Shannon. "We don't know what we're going to need yet. We want to make sure we have it."

It's going to get crazy.

Also on the ballot is an initiative that would impose an income tax on high earners -- those making at least $200,000 a year.

The Union-Bulletin will be running news stories on these various initiatives and will take a stand on the editorial page.

We encourage readers to check out the information posted in the state Voters Pamphlet and online at the Secretary of State's website, sos.wa.gov .

Voters need to sift through all the information that will come their way and think about how it will apply to their lives.

The decisions made in the Nov. 2 election will have a direct impact on our lives for years to come. Voters owe it to themselves and their fellow citizens to look past the rhetoric when casting their ballots.

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