No GMO labeling, say Washington voters

Initiatives 522, 517 fail

The majority of Washington state’s voters have voted in opposition to the two initiatives that were on the ballot yesterday (Tuesday).

Initiative 522, concerning the labeling of genetically modified food products, failed by more than 95,300 votes. More than 54 percent of Washington voters checked no on the ballot.

In Yakima County, voters agreed with the state. More than 73 percent of the county’s registered voters cast their ballots against the proposed labeling requirements.

Campaign manager for I-522 Delana Jones, said the supporters of the initiative are not ready to give up on Washington voters. “Due to Washington’s vote-by-mail system, we don’t have a final tally of the votes tonight,” she said after last night’s voter returns were tabulated.

The No on 522 campaign was more confident that a message was sent. “This is a clear victory for Washington consumers, taxpayers and family farmers across our state,” said Spokesperson Dana Bieber.

More than 986,800 Washington state ballots were counted last night.

Voters in Jefferson, King and Whatcom counties voted in favor of I-522.

Initiative 517 failed by a larger margin statewide. More than 60 percent of the voters voted against new regulations for collecting signatures on petitions.

In Yakima County, the voters cast their ballots in favor of the proposed laws that would give those gathering signatures more time and require any city or county to include an initiative or proposal on a ballot if enough signatures were gathered.

More than 12,600 Yakima County voters approved the initiative, while just more than 9,500 voted against it.

Andrew Villeneuve is a No on I-517 steering committee member. Speaking to last night’s election results, he said the initiative, if passed, would have made it easier for Tim Eyman and his associates to manipulate the state’s initiative process.

“Congratulations to the people of Washington for having the good sense and wisdom to reject Tim Eyman’s self-serving I-517,” said Villeneuve.

The advisory vote in regard to leasehold excise tax credits is close, but more than 50 percent of the ballots counted so far are in favor of maintaining the measure. Yakima County voters elected to repeal the measure by nearly 62 percent of the vote.

The advisory vote concerning an aircraft excise tax on commuter air carriers will be maintained if Washington voters get their way. Nearly 52 percent of Washington voters elected to maintain the measure, while nearly 64 percent Yakima County voters cast their ballots in favor of repealing the measure.

Washington voters cast their ballots in favor of repealing Advisory Vote No. 5 (Engrossed Substitute Hous Bill 1846) concerning the insurance premium tax to some insurance for pediatric oral services. More than 62 percent of Washington voters, including more than 74 percent of Yakima County voters checked the repeal box.

Voters also want to repeal Advisory Vote No. 6, which concerns retail sales tax exemptions for certain telephone and telecommunication services. More than 54 percent of the votes in Washington were in favor of repealing the measure, and nearly 66 percent of Yakima County voters were included in that tally.

Voters also want the legislature to repeal Engrossed House Bill 2075, concerning estate taxes on certain property transfers and increased rates for estates valued at more than $4 million. Just more than 50 percent of Washington voters and nearly 63 percent of Yakima County voters elected to repeal the measure.


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