Petitions allow voters to request that a jurisdiction (such as a city, a school district, King County or the state) place a proposal to change the law on the ballot. These proposals usually come in the form of initiatives or referendums.
Initiatives give voters the power to create a ballot measure that would enact new laws or change existing laws. Referendums give voters an opportunity to approve or reject laws either proposed or enacted by lawmakers.
To see if an initiative or referendum has been filed in a certain jurisdiction, contact the jurisdiction.
If you plan on filing a petition, be sure to talk with the jurisdiction about deadlines and other requirements and file early to allow time for signature verification.
Petitions go through a 4-step process
Petition organizers must first contact the jurisdiction in which they would like to circulate a petition. Requirements for petitions can vary depending on the jurisdiction. The jurisdiction will provide their specific petition requirements, including layout, content, number of valid signatures required and deadlines.
For most petitions, signers must be registered voters within the jurisdiction. Voters who sign petitions should print their name and address clearly and legibly and sign as they would on their ballot. Petition organizers can provide registration forms to citizens when they sign the petition, but the completed forms must be submitted to King County Elections within five business days. The petition signer must also be registered by the time their signature is checked.
The number of valid signatures required varies depending on the jurisdiction. Petition organizers should gather at least 20 to 30 percent more signatures than required in order to ensure they have an adequate number of valid signatures.
Once the petition is circulated it must be submitted directly to the jurisdiction. The jurisdiction initially reviews the petition to determine that certain requirements are met.
The petition is then submitted by the jurisdiction to King County Elections for signature verification. King County Elections sends a letter to the jurisdiction informing them when Elections will begin checking the signatures of the petition. In the majority of cases, no signatures may be added and no signer may withdraw their signature after Elections begins signature verification.
In order to ensure that petition organizers have collected the required number of valid signatures, Elections staff must check each signature in the petition. The staff confirms signers are registered to vote in the appropriate district, and verify each signature by comparing it with the signature on file with the voter's registration. Elections staff are trained in signature verification by the Washington State Patrol, the state's authority on signature verification and fraud. If a petition signature cannot be verified then it will not be counted.
King County notifies the jurisdiction as to whether or not the required number of valid signatures has been reached. The original petition is then returned to the jurisdiction.
No current petitions.
City of Seattle Initiative Measure No. 135
King County Elections completed the inital review of signatures on July 22, 2022 and determined the petition to be insufficient per City of Seattle Charter, Article IV, Section 1B . The City of Seattle, Charter, Article IV, Section 1B grants petitioners an additional 20 days to gather additional signatures and add those to the original petition to complete the petition to the required percentage. On August 15, 2022, additional signatures were submitted to King County Elections for review. King County Elections will start the signature verification process for these additional signatures on Tuesday, August 23, 2022, at 9 a.m.
The first review of petition signatures has been completed. King County Elections is conducting a second review of all challenged signatures.
Watch the petition verification livestream
King County Elections completed the review of signatures on August 26, 2022 and determined the petition to be sufficient per RCW 35.21.005 and City of Seattle Charter, Article IV, Section 1B .
Last updated: 8/29/2022, 10:15 a.m.
|# of signatures required||26,520|
|# of signatures submitted||39,148|
|# of signatures reviewed||38,272|
|# of signatures accepted||27,220|
|# of signatures challenged||11,052|
*This number will vary as all signatures initially challenged will get a second review by another staff person to ensure that before the signature is officially challenged or accepted, there is evidence to support that determination.
Phone: 206-296-VOTE (8683)
TTY: Relay 711
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