You have a statutory Initiative & Referendum process. Citizens can pass laws they write or suspend a statute passed by the Legislature by collecting enough petition signatures to place the statute on the statewide ballot for a decision by the voters. Unfortunately, voters do not yet enjoy any process for passing a constitutional amendment by Initiative.


See the results of a poll on support for statewide initiative & referendum here.

Grade: C+

Click here to view Washington’s individual report in Of the People, By the People, For the People: A 2010 Report Card on Statewide Voter Initiative Rights.

State Balloting Process

How you can change Washington’s government through ballot initiatives


In 1897 State Representative L. E. Reeder of Ollalla introduced a
constitutional amendment for initiative and referendum that passed the
lower house by a 63 to 12 vote, but it failed in the state senate… Read More

Ballot Qualifications & Schedule

Date initiative language can be submitted: Initiatives to the people must be filed within 10 months prior to the next state general election, and the petitions (signatures) must be filed not less than 4 months before such general election. Initiatives to the
Legislature must be filed within 10 months prior to the next regular session
of the Legislature, and the petitions (signatures) must be filed not less than
10 days before such regular session of the Legislature.

Signatures are tied to vote of which office: Governor

Next Gubernatorial election: 2012

Votes cast for governor in last election: 3,002,862 (2008)

Net number of signatures required: 8% of votes cast for Governor in last
gubernatorial election for both direct and in-direct initiatives. (240,228).

Distribution requirement: None.

Circulation period: For initiatives to the people – 6 months and for
initiatives to the Legislature it is 10 months.

Do circulators have to be residents: No

Date when signatures are due for certification: Petitions supporting an
initiative to the people must be filed with the Secretary of State no later
than four (4) months before the date of the state general election and petitions supporting an initiative to the Legislature must be filed with the Secretary of State no later than 10 days before a regular session of the Legislature convenes. Petitions must be filed not later than the close of business (5:00 p.m.) on the last business day in the specified period for submission of signatures. If a filing deadline falls on a Saturday, the office of the Secretary of State will be open on that Saturday for the transaction of
business from 8:00 am to 5:00 p.m.

Signature verification process: Random sampling

Single-subject restriction: Yes

Legislative tampering: The legislature can repeal or amend an initiative by
a ¾ vote of each house during the first 2 years of enactment, majority
vote thereafter.

Excerpted from the Initiative & Referendum Almanac by M. Dane Waters.