2014 Election Resources

Ballot initiatives allow voters, rather than the legislature, to enact new laws by a simple majority vote. Initiatives that pass become law without the governor's signature

Your ballot arriving in the mail means you’ll soon begin the election ritual of analyzing and deciding on numerous ballot measures. Before you vote, be sure to read our valuable Citizens’ Guides to this year’s major statewide measures, as well as important ballot propositions in Seattle and Spokane.

Citizens’ Guide to Initiative 1351. To reduce class sizes. This initiative is intended to reduce class sizes in public schools by hiring more teachers, administrators and school district support staff. The initiative is sponsored by the teachers' union, the Washington Education Association (WEA). Of the new 25,561 positions, only 7,453 (29%) of new staff hired would be classroom teachers, and the remaining 17,081 (71%) would be support staff and administrators. Read our Citizens' Guide to Initiative 1351.
Read our latest release: Why Initiative 1351 will not improve learning for school children.
Watch WPC debate Initiative 1351 in Spokane. 

Citizens’ Guide to Seattle’s Proposition 1. To increase the sales tax and car fees to pay for current bus service in Seattle. This measure would increase annual vehicle registration fees by $60 and authorize up to a 0.1% increase of the sales tax in order to fund Metro Transit service benefitting the City of Seattle. Read our Citizens' Guide to Seattle's Proposition 1.

Citizens' Guide to Spokane's Streets Levy & Park Bond. Spokane voters will make two decisions that will affect their property tax burden for years to come. Citizens are being asked to convert the city's popular street bond program into a 20-year property tax levy. Voters are also being asked to approve a 20-year, $64.3 million bond measure to finance reconstruction of Spokane's historic Riverfront Park. Read our Citizens' Guide to Spokane's Streets Levy & Park Bond.

Initiative 591: The Washington Gun Rights Measure. This initiative would prohibit government agencies from confiscating guns from citizens without due process of law. It would also prevent Washington state from adopting background check requirements on gun purchasers that go beyond current federal law, unless a uniform national standard is created first. Current state law requires background checks only on gun purchases made through a licensed firearms dealer.

Initiative 594: Washington Universal Background Check for Gun Purchases. This initiative would expand criminal and public safety background checks to all firearm sales and transfers, whether as a gift, sale or loan, including at gun shows, personals sales or loans, and online sales. Currently, state law requires background checks only on gun purchases made through a licensed firearms dealer. Initiative 594 includes exceptions for firearm transfers among immediate family members, the temporary loan of a firearm for self-defense, hunting, at a shooting range or shooting competition, and antique firearms. An antique firearm is one made before 1899, or replica made since, that does not use modern ammunition.

Inheritance of a rifle or shotgun would be exempt. The inheritor of a handgun would have to transfer the gun in accordance with the background check requirement, or notify the state within 60 days of the intent to keep the firearm. State sales tax would not apply to gun sales between people who are not licensed dealers, as long as the met the background check requirements.

If both initiatives pass...
Initiatives 591 and 594 contradict each other, so if both measures pass, the matter would be decided by the courts. The outcome is unknown, as this legal situation has never before occurred. 

We hope our publications serve as valuable resources to help you understand how this year’s ballot will impact you. Please share them with your family and friends as they review their ballots.

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