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Talking Points from Tim Eyman

* After two unanimous state supreme court rulings, opponents of statewide initiatives have accepted that pre-election legal challenges will fail to block the vote so they don’t file them anymore. Under I-517, it’ll be the same for opponents of local initiatives — they’ll know that lawsuits to prevent the people from voting will be unsuccessful so they won’t file them either. Under I-517, the voters will get to vote on state and local initiatives that collect the required number of voter signatures in the required amount of time. More on this in yesterday’s email (reprinted below). In my view, I-517’s guaranteed right to vote on qualified initiatives will have the greatest impact on the process.
* For decades, it has been a gross misdemeanor (which is a crime) to interfere with a person trying to sign a petition. I-517 makes it a misdemeanor (a category lower than a gross misdemeanor) to interfere with or retaliate against a person signing a petition or a person collecting signatures. The intent is to deter bad behavior and keep the process peaceful. Nothing in I-517 stops opponents from peacefully encouraging voters not to sign petitions; I-517 simply allows people to exercise their First Amendment right to petition the government without violence, threat, intimidation, fear, or retaliation.
* I-517 extends the time for statewide initiatives, but makes no change to the signature collection timeframes for local initiatives. The super high signature threshold for initiatives stays the same under I-517 (8% of active voters for state initiatives and 15% of active voters for local initiatives). Among the states that have an initiative process, the average time allowed for signature collection is 15 months, the median is one year (Oregon allows 2 years). More time means more of a chance for grassroots initiative campaigns to take root.

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