Category Archives: Success
Exchanged emails with Hunt’s LA today, and we’re on for Nov. 16 at
9a (Rep. Hunt has a breakfast meeting) 915a.
This might also be a good day to do my lit drop at the legislative office buildings, since they might just be in committee that week.
And, when I say “we,” I mean to include such Republicans as Toby Nixon and Pam Roach. Back in the old days of 2003, when David Goldstein and Tim Eyman were first staring each other down, there was a good idea that didn’t win in the legislature.
Back in 2003 Toby Nixon introduced HB 1014 (in the Senate as SB 5441), which would have shrunk the allowed size of petitions to 8.5×11. Of course it didn’t pass, but it goes to show that a good idea is a good idea on both sides of the aisle. I’ve attached the analysis and there is also audio of the public hearing available at TVW.
Here are a few things I’ve learned:
1. The Secretary of State supported this idea. That’s good to know, because when your idea to change the initiative process is opposed by the chief election official in the state, I don’t know if your idea gets very far.
2. The Association of Washington Business and Assocation of General Contractors both testified against the bills. And no one else. Even Tim Eyman came down to Olympia for his first legislative hearing to support this one. The AWB opposed the bill because it would limit “voter education,” apparently because if you had a smaller piece of paper to sign, you would know less.
3. There was also opposition because of possible fraud from people faking initiatives. This has been brought up before, so it bears following up on. I wonder since Washington has the largest initiative petition in the country whether we have a particularly low occurance of fake petitions.
4. One person spoke at the House hearing saying that there was no history of why the legislature chose the 11×14 dimensions in the 1980s. They simply landed on that size, which is not a good reason for it to stick around.
And, to say it once more, it doesn’t bother me that Republicans tried to get this done in 2003. The very idea of this came to me from a ballot initiative I didn’t support, and tried to convince others not to sign or vote for. It is just a good idea, no matter who agrees with me.
Specifications for petition.
When the ballot title has been established for a proposed initiative measure, the persons proposing such measure may prepare blank petitions, printed on single sheets of paper of good writing quality no smaller in size than eight and one-half (8 1/2) inches in width and eleven (11) inches in length and no larger in size than eleven (11) inches in width and seventeen (17) inches in length, with a margin of at least one (1) inch at the top.
The paper used for the petition sheets must be of sufficient weight and quality to accommodate printing and writing on both sides. Paper size should be between eight and twelve inches wide and between eleven and eighteen inches long. Printing should be no smaller than ten-point face, except that the text of the measure may be in smaller type if necessary to allow the entire petition to be on a single sheet of paper. For reasons of length of text or other practical necessity, the specifications of this section may be adjusted as the sponsor and city clerk may agree.
I knew there had to be something wrong here. From a not very deep look into our nation's initiative petitions, Washington State requires the largest — no less than 11×14 inches, almost twice the size of standard printer paper.
None of the states that I looked at in a search of the Initiative & Referendum Institute's research section require such a large petition. California requires exactly what I'm looking for, a minimum size of 8.5×11 and Florida requires petitions to be no larger than 8.5×11. Florida can only fit one signature per petition, though. One recent initiative turned in over 900,000 signatures. Can you imagine?
Anyway, here are the results. I didn't find a requirment for every state that has the initiative, by the way.
Arizona: 8.5×14 exactly
California: 8.5×11 minimum
Florida: 8.5×11 maximum
Michigan: 8.5×14 exactly
Maine 11×17 maximum
Mississippi: 8.5×11 exact
Missouri: 8.5×14 maximum
Montana: 8.5×14 maximum
Oklahoma: 8.5×14 exactly
Oregon: 8.5×11 exactly
Oregon (counties): 8.5×11 exactly
Utah: 8.5×11 exactly
Washington: 11×14 minimum
So, nine (updated, I realized now that Maine and Mississippi are different) out of the eleven states (and counties for Oregon) that I found information on would allow standard printer paper sized petitions.
What I can't figure out is why Washington requires petitions so much larger than the rest of the country. As I've demostrated, you can fit the text of a initiative on the back of a 8.5×11 piece of paper. I wonder how old the rule actually is and what the reasoning for it was.