New Eyman initiative would protect petitioners

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OLYMPIA — Initiative promoter Tim Eyman turned in signatures Thursday for his latest effort, a measure that would set penalties for harassment of signature gatherers and signers, and would allot more time for signatures to be collected.

Eyman turned in about 345,000 signatures to the secretary of state’s office. An initiative to the Legislature requires at least 241,153 valid signatures of registered state voters to be certified, though the secretary of state’s office suggests at least 320,000 as a buffer for any duplicate or invalid signatures.

Initiative 517 gives initiative supporters a year — instead of the current six months — to collect signatures. The measure also would require that voters be allowed to vote on any initiative that qualifies for the ballot, even if a lawsuit has been filed against the measure.

“We always thought there were ways to make the process better, and we think that these improvements will help it a lot,” Eyman said.

Once the initiative goes to the Legislature, it has three options: vote on the measure; take no action and I-517 will appear on the November ballot; or recommend an alternate measure to run alongside I-517 on the ballot.