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Alleged Fraud Found in Eyman, GMO Initiative Campaigns

The Secretary of State says more than 8,000 fraudulent signatures were found on I-517, Tim Eyman's so-called initiative on initiatives, and I-522, which calls for required GMO labeling.

A probe by the Washington Elections Division has allegedly found more than 8,000 fraudulent signatures on I-517 and I-522, two initiatives that were recently validated by the state.

The Secretary of State's Office issued an announcement Wednesday saying the case will be handed over to the Washington State Patrol. Elections officials say they found 3,644 fraudulent signatures for I-517 and 4,483 for I-522—many containing names, addresses or signatures that did not match with voter registration records.

But even without the signatures in question, both measures still have more than enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. I-517 and I-522 were certified last month; the legislature must now decide whether to pass the measures as they are or send them to voters.

Initiative 522 would require any food sold in Washington state and made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled.

Tim Eyman's Initiative 517, the so-called initiative on initiatives, lengthens the amount of time signatures can be gathered from six to 12 months and broadens the legal definition of disorderly conduct to include interference or retaliation against a signature-gatherer. It also requires that all valid initiatives appear on the ballot.

Organizers behind both initiatives said they are glad the signatures in question are being investigated. The Secretary of State's Office has said three paid signature-gatherers—including one solicitor who worked on both initiative campaigns—are the focus of the probe.

“We absolutely applaud the Secretary of State for finding the forgeries, and we support absolute prosecution of the forgers,” said I-522 sponsor Chris McManus.

Eyman also is not skipping a beat because of the fraud investigation. Asked whether the incident points to a need for more volunteer signature gatherers, he said the extra signature gathering time given in I-517 would allow campaigns to rely less on paid workers—and perhaps prevent fraud in the future.

“There is a little irony in the situation,” Eyman said.

It is a Class C felony in Washington to commit petition fraud. The offense is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

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Would you support I-517 and I-522? Tell us in the comment section.

employee February 16, 2013 at 12:54 AM
I think Tim Eyeman should be the first of the "unpaid volunteers" to step up. This guy is a leech on our communities, he only sees profit, not progress. Irony indeed.
dexterjibs February 16, 2013 at 07:03 AM
Employee, obviously your parentsnever tought you the basic life lesson-"Don't criticize things you know nothing about". Time Eyman forces politicians to do things they don't have the guts to do. I will vote yes for all of his initiatives that make sense.
Dick Lipschitz February 16, 2013 at 07:31 AM
Ha! Obviously you are a hateful Tea Party nimrod who waves the flag and is patritoic to this racist country. Someday you and your ilk will be rightfully punished by President Obama and then summarily marginalized. Your so called patriotic ideals about American greatness will be flushed down the toilet.
employee February 17, 2013 at 01:22 AM
Dexterjibs, i can run circles around your lame teabagger/john birch dogma. Tim Eyeman is a paid political shill of the rethuglican party. He has no other interest but to profit from scaring low info voters like yourself. Your parents should have taught you bettter.
mosimo February 17, 2013 at 04:01 AM
I don't care who submits legislation....if it makes sense to be a more open government, and learn to curb the state's needless desires to over-grow, as they have shown, I will vote for that legislation every time.

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