Forward Seattle Petition Falling Short of Necessary Validation Rate

I’ve yet to see the exact numbers, and they don’t appear to be available online, but word is that King County Elections has reviewed about 4,000 of the approximately 19,500 signatures Forward Seattle submitted on their anti-$15 minimum wage petitions, and validated only 75 percent on the first pass. That’s far short of the 84.6 percent rate necessary to produce the 16,500 valid signatures required to qualify a referendum for the ballot.

I’ve no idea if those first 4,000 signatures were a random sample or a contiguous batch of petition sheets, but either way it’s bad news for Forward Seattle, which would now need an 87.1 percent validation rate on the remaining signatures to meet the threshold. That’s not impossible; all of the rates posted above are within the range of past experience. But 87.1 percent would be more of an optimistic outlier than the norm.

And that’s before considering the “hundreds” of signature withdrawals Working Washington tells me they collected.

Considering the lengths Forward Seattle had to go to generate signatures—you know, lying to voters about their petition—a 75 percent validation rate would not be surprising. It takes low standards to run a signature drive this way, and those low standards almost guarantee a degree of sloppiness and cheating.

In other words, you get what you pay for. A maxim the business owners funding Forward Seattle might want to take to heart in reconsidering how they compensate their own low wage workers.


  1. 1

    seatackled spews:

    I don’t understand how this could be; I’ve read many assurances that the signature gatherers were completely clear and honest about what the petition was about, and these assurances were accompanied by more assurances that the goal of the initiative had strong support.

  2. 2

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Boycott those businesses anyway, now that the cheapskates who don’t want to pay their workers a living wage have self-identified themselves.

  3. 4

    seatackled spews:

    I used to go to Lam’s Seafood. I even purchase the half-off coupons they offered through the Stranger. But when the owner was quoted over a year ago as being strongly against the $15 minimum, I stopped shopping there. So I certainly won’t go back there again, now that they are behind the petition.

  4. 5

    MightyWoozie spews:

    @4 Seconded. I speak some Asian languages, and I make a point to talk A LITTLE LOUDER ABOUT HOW I HEARD LAM’S BEING AGAINST MINIMUM WAGE when I’m in International District.

  5. 6

    ChefJoe spews:

    Don’t worry Seatackled, Lam’s is going to move to texas soon enough.
    “Yen Lam-Steward owns Lam’s Seafood Market, an Asian grocery store that her immigrant parents opened 22 years ago in the Chinatown International District. If the city of Seattle imposed a $15 minimum wage, “this would literally be devastating,” she said.

    “I would consider closing or even moving to another city or even another state, like Texas where they are more business friendly,” Lam-Steward, 34, said. “If Seattle really wants to be anti-business and drive all the businesses out, go ahead and pass this law.””

  6. 7

    ArtFart spews:

    When I graduated from high school in 1967, a McDonald’s hamburger cost 13 cents, a beer cost a quarter, the most expensive automobile manufactured in the US had a sticker price of $6800, gasoline sold for 21 cents a gallon, the bus cost two bits, full-time tuition at the UW was $115 a quarter and the minimum wage was $1.30 an hour. Keeping everything in proportion, 15 bucks for an hour’s worth of the sweat off of someone’s brow these days would seem like a bargain.

  7. 9

    seatackled spews:

    I don’t care where they go or what they do. I know you like to play the credulous idiot, but I didn’t see any quotation in the article where they say they will move, just that they would “consider” it. If they stay in Seattle, which most businesses will, despite the bluster they offer for chumps like you, they will need to comply with the law. And if they go, someone will take up that retail space, and I’ll probably shop at the new place. Thanks for finding the column that got me to decide not to shop at Lam’s any longer, by the way; it was more recent than I thought.

    @5 I’m sure many of the other groceries in the area are also reluctant and nervous, but they’re not being dicks about it like Lam’s. It’s kind of like being anti-gay marriage, isn’t it? It’s going to happen whether you like it or not, so just shut up about it and adjust.

  8. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    After three decades of busting unions, beating down wages, cutting benefits, offshoring jobs, converting permanent jobs to temp positions and full-time jobs to part-time positions, and fighting minimum wage increases — business are now complaining because consumers aren’t spending.

    It appears that, somewhere along the way, they forgot their employees are also their customers.