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Opponents deliver referendum signatures to put Seattle’s $15 minimum wage on ballot

Voters line up Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016 during early voting at Chavis Community Center in Raleigh, N.C. Voters in the key presidential battleground of North Carolina demonstrated keen interest on the first day of early voting, as some waited in line for more than an hour Thursday to cast ballots. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Supporters of a referendum to put Seattle’s $15 minimum wage to a public vote have turned in what they are confident will be enough signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Forward Seattle co-founder and Seattle small business owner Kathrina Tugadi tells KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz show they have gathered nearly 20,000 signatures, far more than the 16,500 signatures required to qualify the referendum.

City Clerk Monica Martinez Simmons tells The Seattle Times her office likely will not finish counting the signature petitions until next Monday at the earliest. They will then be sent to the King County Elections office to verify the signatures.

Supporters of a $15 minimum wage have alleged paid signature gatherers for the referendum have misrepresented the measure, claiming it would actually raise the minimum wage or that the ordinance passed by the City Council has not yet been passed.

Working Washington has asked King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg to investigate. His office on Wednesday forwarded the complaints to the Seattle City Attorney’s Office and Seattle Police Department for investigation.

A spokesman for Satterberg says the allegations would constitute potential gross misdemeanors and fall under the city’s jurisdiction, not the county’s.

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About the Author

Josh Kerns

Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM. He covers everything from May Day riots in Seattle to the latest Boeing news. Email Josh at


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