Initiative on initiatives fails in state vote

A Tim Eyman initiative aimed at making it easier for sponsors like him to get measures on the statewide ballot lost Tuesday.

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A Tim Eyman initiative aimed at making it easier for sponsors like him to get measures on the statewide ballot lost Tuesday.

Initial returns showed 60 percent of voters statewide rejecting the measure. It was losing 69 to 31 percent in King County and far behind in Pierce and Snohomish counties as well.

Eyman, in an email, said: “Unless reforms like those contained in Initiative 517 are enacted, only initiatives sponsored by the big guys will make it. That’s too bad. The initiative process should be available to everyone.”

Initiative 517 would have given sponsors an additional six months to collect signatures, made it illegal for anyone to maintain “an intimidating presence” within 25 feet of a signature gatherer and prohibited local government from blocking votes on ballot measures.

The initiative also contained language foes said would vastly expand where signature gatherers could go, including inside stadiums during Seahawks and Mariners games. I-517 backers disagreed.

A broad coalition of groups and individuals, including the Seahawks and Northwest Grocery Association, opposed I-517, arguing it would take away the right of private businesses, which now can decide when and where signature gathering can occur.

In a one-sentence email statement regarding the loss, Mark Baerwaldt, co-chair of Yes on I-517, said, “Obviously we are disappointed.”

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