I was just pleasantly surprised to hear that Tim Eyman’s I-917, the YATDCT Initiative (”Yet Another Thirty Dollar Car Tab”), may not qualify for the ballot after all.
Eyman had claimed to have turned in over 300,000 signatures, yet the Secretary of State’s office has only counted about 266,000. That means a rejection rate of about 15.5 percent or more would put I-917 under the required 224,880 signature threshold.
How likely is that? According to past performance, moderately damn. The SOS reports that statistical samples of last year’s initiatives showed rejection rates of 13, 16, 17, 19, and 26 percent. The office is preparing to do a statistical sample of I-917, and if it’s close they’ll have to verify every last signature. It may be weeks before we know the outcome.
Why would Eyman inflate his reported count by about 34,000 signatures when he knew that the SOS would eventually announce the real number? I can only think of two explanations: either he’s a pathological liar or mind-numbingly incompetent.
Hmm. Let’s see. Huh. I guess, when push comes to shove, I’m leaning towards… both.
We all know Eyman’s a liar; there’s no question there. But the very fact that this initiative is even close should be a total embarrassment to a man who has made a career out of the initiative process. And it is doubly humiliating considering the fact that from all reports, Eyman virtually stopped gathering signatures by the first week in June.
All it takes to qualify for the ballot is enough money to buy the signatures, and in sugar-daddy Michael Dunmire, Eyman should have had all the money he needed. Dunmire invested over $300,000 in I-917, and unless there was some kind of late-campaign falling out it makes no sense that he would leave the initiative on the bubble for want of an additional $50,000.
If Eyman knew he hadn’t achieved the 20 percent cushion all campaigns shoot for, it was totally negligent of him not to ask for the money to finish the job right. And if Eyman actually miscounted the signatures — after all the money Dunmire had put into the effort — well that’s simply inexcusable.
If I were Dunmire I’d take my business elsewhere. One way or the other Eyman simply can’t be trusted to do the job, and there are plenty of other high-paid consultants who know how to hire signature gathering firms… not to mention perform simple math.
Oh… and there’s one other twist to this story that could come into play. As Steve Zemke has reported over on Majority Rules, Attorney General Rob McKenna has issued a somewhat twisted opinion that states that a new law that requires a signature gatherer declaration to be printed on the ballot, does not actually require the declaration to be signed. The SOS reports that about 3000 of I-917’s petitions came back without signed declarations — that could account for as many as 60,000 signatures, more than enough to keep I-917 off the ballot if disqualified if a court overules McKenna’s opinion.
Law suit anyone?