NEWS RELEASE

July 23, 2004

For immediate release

GRANGE INITIATIVE 872 QUALIFIES FOR NOVEMBER BALLOT

The Secretary of State announced late yesterday that the Washington State Grange's "People's Choice" initiative will appear on the general election ballot in November.

Out of the approximately 308,402 signatures the Grange turned in for the initiative earlier this month, 258,513 were valid signatures. The Grange submitted 60,799 more signatures than it needed to qualify the initiative. Only 16 percent of the signatures turned in were deemed invalid a relatively low figure for initiatives in Washington.

"This just goes to show how strongly people feel about this issue," said Grange President Terry Hunt. "In fact, we even registered a significant amount of new voters during this process. People were registering to vote specifically so that they could sign on with this initiative and the principles it represents."

Hunt was pleased with the high number of volunteers who helped gather signatures for I-872, which, if passed into law in November, will allow voters to choose any candidate in any office in a primary election without limitation based on party affiliation. Under the proposed system, the two candidates with the most votes will advance to the general election.

"We received help from a lot of people," said Hunt. "Our volunteers worked very hard, on their own time, to help get this initiative on the ballot. The people of Washington State have rallied around this issue with a sincere passion. They know their freedoms have been stripped away from them.

"This sends a clear message to the political parties and the government that the primary election process should represent the interest of the voters, not the agendas of the state or national political parties. Voters should not be required to affiliate with a party in order to vote. Our initiative will allow individuals to vote for the person, not the party. It will also provide the greatest degree of choice and competition in both the primary and general elections, rather than just one or the other. We are relieved that the people are going to have the final say over what kind of primary we should have."

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For more information, contact David Burr, Communications Director, (360) 943-9911.