By Joe Veyera
A pair of ballot measures aimed to put Seattle’s new, phased-in $15 minimum wage law to a vote this fall failed to gather enough signatures and will not appear on the November ballot.
On Tuesday, King County Elections announced it had sent a letter of insufficiency to the City of Seattle for both Referendum Measure Nos. 2 and 3, neither of which had enough valid signatures for a measure to be placed on the ballot.
While 18,929 signatures were submitted by Forward Seattle for Referendum No. 3, only 14,818 were deemed valid, well short of the 16,510 needed to qualify for the ballot. The other measure, from Save Our Choices, submitted only 455 signatures that were valid out of 568 submitted and checked.
Back in June, the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to approve a plan to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 over several years. Large businesses (those with 500 or more employees, either in Seattle or nationally) will reach $15 per hour in three years — four if they provide health insurance. Small businesses (businesses with fewer than 500 employees) will reach a $15 per hour minimum wage in seven years.
In a post on Forward Seattle’s Facebook page on July 15, co-chair Angela Cough said, “Even if we fall short once the count is complete, WE ARE NOT DONE.” It’s currently unclear how the group will proceed after the referendum’s failure to reach the ballot, but the post also noted that, “while a referendum is the best option for re-visiting this issue with the City, we have other options available to us to effect change in the near future and state-wide.”
Any questions about the referendum petitions can be directed to Monica Simmons, Office of the City Clerk, City of Seattle, at 206-684-8361.