With less than a month to go, it looks like the I-1068 campaign is not going to get the help it needs to get on the ballot. Using only volunteer gatherers (I’ve collected roughly 500 signatures myself), it’s still less than half-way to its signature goal. As Josh reports, the SEIU had initially considered funding paid signature gatherers to ensure it gets on the ballot in November – in part because it would greatly increase turnout among younger voters. If I-1068 gets on the ballot, supporters were looking to use Hempfest as a huge voter registration effort.
Instead, Democrats and the SEIU balked. With an initiative already on the ballot in California to provide some good data points, it’ll be interesting to see whether the backers of I-1068 are correct about how much value there would have been for Democrats to have a marijuana legalization initiative on the ballot – if it doesn’t make it.
Making things even more interesting, we would be able to compare the fates of both Barbara Boxer and Patty Murray; both incumbents, and both being challenged by well-known candidates with big pockets (assuming Fiorina makes it through her primary tomorrow). Although, to add an extra twist, Boxer inexplicably came out against California’s initiative at the beginning of April, and has since seen her favorability plummet since then. It’s not clear whether her opposition was the main reason for that huge drop (or if there just aren’t enough polling points yet to know how big the drop really is), but coming out against an initiative that remains extremely popular with both her base of liberal voters and independents certainly wasn’t smart.
It’s entirely possible that if I-1068 makes the ballot that Murray would follow in Boxer’s clumsy footsteps and publicly oppose it anyway. But if I were Dino Rossi, I’d be breathing a little easier about the likelihood of not having something on the ballot that encourages more younger and liberal voters to show up in November.