The same coalition of business, labor and environmental organizations that came together last year to handedly defeat Initiative 912 (gas tax repeal,) filed a lawsuit today in Thurston County Superior court seeking to disqualify 3000 pages of signatures for I-917, Tim Eyman’s doomed “Yet Another Thirty Dollar Car Tab” (YATDCB) initiative.
Fifteen business, labor and environmental organizations announced the challenge on Tuesday, invoking a 2005 law that requires signature-gatherers to personally sign a declaration that the information on the petition is correct.
Initiative 917 solicitors did not sign the statement on more than 3,000 of the 17,000 petitions, and those pages must be thrown out, the group said.
“The Legislature passed a law to ensure that signature-gatherers are honest and accountable,” said Steve Mullen, president of the Washington Roundtable, the organization of top corporate CEOs. “There has been substantial fraud in other states, and laws like this are necessary to keeping the initiative process clean and to protect the voters.”
Substantial fraud in other states? More like massive fraud, with signature rejection rates surpassing fifty percent with some initiatives.
One of the primary purposes of the 2005 law was to require signature gatherers to identify themselves on petitions so that authorities could better track cases of intentional fraud to individual signature gatherers. But in response to a query from state Rep. Toby Nixon (R-45), Attorney General Rob McKenna issued a rather tortured opinion, arguing that while the law requires the declaration to be printed on the initiative, it does not actually require the declaration to be signed.
Huh? Then what’s the purpose?
That’s what the court is going to be asked to decide — the actual legislative intent behind the declaration — and in an email exchange Rep. Nixon insisted that McKenna got it right:
I’ve seen the opinion and agree with it. In fact, it was me who pointed out the legislative history of the bill