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I-517:Ballot Initiatives

Extends signature gathering time and sets penalties for interfering with signature collection; requires all initiatives with necessary signatures appear on ballot.


This measure would set penalties for interfering with or retaliating against signature-gatherers and petition-signers; require that all measures receiving sufficient signatures appear on the ballot; and extend time for gathering initiative petition signatures.


what your vote means


A YES vote on this initiative means: Interfering with or retaliating against petition-signers and signature-gatherers would be made a criminal misdemeanor and subject to anti-harassment laws. All state and local measures receiving enough signatures would be required to be placed on the ballot. The time for filing initiatives and gathering signatures would be extended from ten to sixteen months before the election when the vote would occur.


A NO vote on this initiative means: Laws and timelines relating to signature gathering for initiatives would be unchanged. Initiatives could still be subjected to pre-election legal challenges. The time for filing initiatives and gathering signatures would not be extended and would continue to be ten months before the election when the vote would occur.


campaign arguments


Voters' Guide Video - Proponent of I-517

Argument For I-517

Opponents of Initiatives too often use Bullying to Prevent Citizens from Signing Initiatives They Support

Voters who want to sign a petition – liberal or conservative – deserve protection from bullying and retaliation.  I-517 establishes penalties to discourage such bad behavior.  Peaceful discussion is legal under I-517; bullying is not.  Pictures, videos, and sworn affidavits here:   

I-517 “Protect Your Right To Vote On Initiatives” is about Letting the People Vote on …

… qualified initiatives.  In recent years, 16+ citizen-sponsored initiatives – liberal and conservative – were blocked from a public vote by powerful special interests even though local citizens followed all the rules.  I-517 establishes a new state law that prevents interference by special interests, guaranteeing the people’s right to vote.  If the initiative qualifies, let the voters decide. 

I-517 Puts the Citizen Back in the Citizen Initiative.  Increasingly, Initiatives Sponsored by Big Business, …

… Big Labor, and the Rich are the only ones qualifying for the ballot.  Why?  Since 1912, the number of signatures has skyrocketed while the timeframe for collecting signatures has stayed exactly the same.  Almost all other initiative states allow a year or more to collect signatures; I-517 matches the national average.  More time means more grassroots groups can compete. 

I-517 Makes Citizen Participation Safer and Guarantees the People’s Right to Vote on Initiatives

Without I-517, entrenched politicians and special interests will continue bullying citizens from expressing their free speech rights and blocking voters from exercising their initiative rights.  Please vote yes.  Thank you.

Committee For
Shawn Newman,
Washington Director of Initiative and Referendum Institute, attorney; Erma Turner, testified in Olympia against bullying of petition-signers; Nick Sherwood, numerous red-light camera initiatives blocked from votes; Stonewall Jackson Bird, city blocked public vote on his Bellingham initiative; Eddie Agazarm, veteran petitioner, initiative organizer, and civic activist; Paul Jacob, president of Citizens In Charge, longtime initiative activist.


Rebuttal of Argument Against

Even our opponents agree I-517 protects free speech and encourages more grassroots participation by making the initiative process more affordable. Regarding petitioning, I-517 simply reinforces what the courts have already said: petitioning at places open to the public is guaranteed under the First Amendment. Without I-517, initiative opponents will continue bullying, preventing citizens from expressing themselves and voting on issues they care about. Protect your right to speak out and vote on initiatives – vote yes!


Voters' Guide Video - Opponent of I-517

Argument Against I-517

I-517 violates Washingtonians' property rights

Courts have ruled that petitioners must respect private property rights when collecting signatures, but I-517 prevents property owners from having control over signature gathering on their property, infringing upon their constitutionally-guaranteed property rights. Under I-517, law enforcement would be directed to vigorously protect petitioners collecting within a twenty-five foot zone. Business owners would not be able to stop aggressive petitioners from blocking and harassing customers who are trying to enter or exit a store. Instead, their property rights would be disregarded.

I-517 benefits Tim Eyman

Sponsor Tim Eyman is a full-time initiative proponent who makes money off the measures he promotes. Under I-517, it would be easier and cheaper for Eyman to qualify future initiatives to the ballot, meaning he could double his output and increase his profits.

I-517 would make petitioning more intrusive

I-517 allows out of state petitioners to be active in Washington year-round – both inside and outside public buildings. Petitioners could go inside sports stadiums like Safeco Field or Comcast Arena, public libraries, and even public school events like high school football games to ask Washingtonians to sign stacks of petitions.

I-517 would increase elections costs

A provision tucked away in I-517 forces cities and counties to put local initiatives on the ballot even if they're illegal or invalid, wasting taxpayer dollars on unnecessary elections.

Join former Secretaries of State Ralph Munro and Sam Reed in voting no on I-517.

Committee Against
Rob McKenna
, former Washington State Attorney General; Brian Sonntag, former Washington State Auditor; Jan Gee, Washington Food Industry Association (independent/family-owned grocers); Frank Ordway, League of Education Voters; Andrew Villeneuve; activist and founder of the Northwest Progressive Institute.

Contact: (360) 688-7633;;

Rebuttal of Argument For

Former Secretary of State Sam Reed said that most complaints received in his office were from citizens and businesses who were being harassed by signature gatherers and that laws already exist to protect signature gatherers’ safety. Local governments should not be forced into costly legal battles when an initiative is found to be unconstitutional. Former Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge says I-517 is unconstitutional as it takes away private property rights of others. Vote No.


campaign information


Protect Your Right to Vote on Initiatives - Yes on 517

P.O. Box 18250
Spokane, WA 99228
Phone: (425) 493-9127 Fax: 425.493.1027


Protect the Initiative Process - No on 517

P.O. Box 706
Olympia, WA 98507
Phone: (306) 688-7633


Additional information

I-517 Full textClick here to view.
Measure TypeInitiative to the Legislature



RankContributor nameTotal
$308.3 thousand raised in total


$620.0 thousand raised in total
RankContributor nameTotal
2SAFEWAY INC$103,000




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