Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Elections Division reports apparent initiative fraud - Auburn Reporter

Elections Division reports apparent initiative fraud - Auburn Reporter

A state Elections Division probe has confirmed apparent initiative fraud involving three paid signature-gatherers for two Initiatives to the Legislature recently certified for legislative consideration.

The three collected more than 8,000 signatures, 3,644 for Tim Eyman's I-517 dealing with the initiative process, and 4,483 for I-522, dealing with genetically engineered food. Many of the signatures, names and addresses didn't match those on file.

The information will be turned over to the State Patrol for investigation and possible referral for prosecution. It is a Class C felony to commit petition fraud, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Secretary of State Kim Wyman said Wednesday the cases involve the worst apparent initiative fraud anyone can remember, and pledged that the state's continuing crackdown will continue, possibly with tougher regulations.
"This kind of disrespect of the voters and our cherished initiative process cannot be tolerated, and I want these cases fully investigated, and if, appropriate, as it certainly appears, I want these people prosecuted," she said.

"I'm sure that sponsors of ballot measures demand that their solicitors be accurate and honest, but we've always feared that use of pay-per-signature encourages bad behavior.

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