Voters in Issaquah, Washington narrowly rejected Proposition 1, a ballot measure that if passed would have repealed the plastic bag ban and bag charge. The measure lost by a narrow margin of only 350 votes.
The King County Department of Elections reported that out of 19,302 registered voters in the City of Issaquah, a total of 7,590 ballots (or 39.32%) were returned by mail and counted. A total of 3,595 “Yes” votes (47.68%) and 3,945 ‘No” votes (52.32%) were cast. The “No” vote keeps the bag ban ordinance previously passed by the City Council in place.
Proposition 1 was placed on the ballot by a grass roots group called Save Our Choice. Save our Choice was founded in December 2011 to first oppose the Seattle bag ban and bag tax and is a band of grassroots volunteers dedicated to fiercely defending consumer and merchant choice. Save Our Choice collected more than 15% of all Issaquah voters to qualify the measure for the ballot in October 2013. (Clark, 2014) Subsequently, Mr. Craig Keller, cofounder of Save Our Choice, successfully challenged the ballot title and description in court and won several much needed wording improvements to the ballot title and description.
According to Mr. Craig Keller, co-founder of Save Our Choice, Proposition 1 would have easily won had more grass roots volunteers turned up to help with the effort. Mr. Keller stated that few volunteers came out to help during freezing cold and windy weather prior to the election to stand outside stores handing out “message” bags and “Free Issy” decals before the election. Each “message” bag was a plastic bag with a message to vote “Yes” on Proposition 1 as shown in the illustration.
In a petition filed on November 15, Mr. Craig Keller of Save Our Choice, challenged the ballot title that the City Council approved on October 21 for the newly qualified citizen’s initiative to “REPEAL of Plastic Bag Ban and Forced Bag Charge”. The citizen’s initiative is on the February 11, 2014 ballot. Save Our Choice objected to certain wording in the ballot title and description because they were ambiguous or were words of advocacy that could generate voter prejudice during balloting on the citizen’s initiative ordinance. Continue reading Issaquah Ballot Title Successfully Challenged→
On November 5, 2013 voters in Durango, Colorado voted to overturn the Carryout Bag Fee Ordinance by a vote of 2,674 to 2087 or 56.16% to 43.84%.
In August, 2013 the Durango City Council voted 4-1 to adopt an ordinance that places a 10-cent fee on both paper and plastic bags distributed by the city’s three grocers and any other business that chooses to opt-in. Under the ordinance, the 10-cent fee on paper and plastic carryout bags is collected by the retailer with 50% going to the city. The funds collected by the city can only be used for environmental projects. (Hurst, 2013) The fee was intended to encourage shoppers to purchase and use reusable bags instead of paper and plastic disposable carryout bags. (Slothrower, 2013) Continue reading Carryout Bag Fee Overturned By Voters In Durango, Colorado→
On October 21, 2013 the Issaquah City Council voted to put the newly qualified citizen’s initiative to “REPEAL of Plastic Bag Ban and Forced Bag Charge” on the February 11, 2014 ballot. Giving citizens the opportunity to resolve the ban’s fate.
Thanks to the hard work of Craig Keller, co-founder of Save Our Choice, and a small team of volunteers. More than 15% of all Issaquah voters signed the petition to force the city council to either repeal the ordinance or refer the decision to voters.
Earlier in October, the King County Department of Elections concluded that enough valid signatures were collected to qualify the initiative for the ballot and issued a Certificate of Sufficiency for the Save Our Choice petition to Issaquah City Council. A total of 2626 out of 4266 signatures collected were found to be valid to qualify the initiative.
According to Craig Keller, there is mounting dissatisfaction with ban and the majority on the city council had the power to correct their earlier bad decision. In fact, once the King County Department of Elections certified that the initiative had collected enough valid signatures, the city council could have repealed the ordinance but instead voted to put the issue on the ballot in 2014.
Now residents of Issaquah, Washington will have a voice on whether the plastic bag ban and fee on paper bags will be repealed.