Brandon Hulse, one of I-1068’s very best volunteer signature gatherers, was about to enter the Safeway at corner of South 38th Street and South M street in Tacoma at 5 p.m. this evening when he was stopped by a man asking him to sign the “Marijuana Reform Act.” The man was a paid petitioner and he was with another paid petitioner. The pair were engaging in deception and fraud and were poaching signatures that properly belonged to I-1068.
Hulse said that they had petitions that were clearly not I-1068–the Marijuana Reform Act–wrapped crosswise around a sheet of cardboard so that one could only see the signature lines but not the title and ballot summary language at the top of the petition. Hulse asked them if they’d turn in their signed copies of I-1068 to him, so he could get them into Sensible Washington’s offices.
“We actually don’t have that,” one of the men told Hulse, according to Hulse.
Meanwhile, a woman was signing the petition after being told it was the Marijuana Reform Act. She began saying “Sign it, sign it” to Hulse. Hulse got one of the men to flip the petition around so he could see the top of it and it was clearly marked as I-1107, which would repeal certain taxes enacted by the State Legislature earlier this year. Hulse went into the Safeway, phoned me and explained the situation. I asked him to try and get the men’s names, what company they worked for and to take their pictures on his cell phone.
Photos and details follow.
Hulse went back outside where the men again asked him to sign the “Marijuana Reform Act.”
“The petition he put in my face was not 1068, it was 1107,” said Hulse. “And I said, ‘Let me see the marijuana reform one’. He was like. ‘Oh, I don’t have that have one. He has that one’. I asked his partner, ‘Can I see I-1068, the one you just asked me to sign?’
“We don’t have that one,” Hulse said the man told him.
“Why are you asking me to sign it if you don’t have it? You’re trying to trick me into signing this one,” Hulse said, referring to I-1107.
Hulse said the petitioner, who was getting anywhere from $3 to $3.50 per signature, told him that he was “told by his organization that they were allowed to say that.”
Hulse replied, “You guys can’t do that. You can’t tell people they’re signing something they’re not signing.”
“We have a right to make a living,” one of the petitioners told Hulse, according to Hulse.
According to Hulse, the pair started talking amongst themselves.
One of them said, “Ignore this guy. We can say whatever we want to say.”
I have left a voice mail for Tim Martin, a beverage industry executive and sponsor of I-1107, but have yet to receive a return call. In the morning, I will call the Attorney General’s office and file an appropriate complaint and ask them to investigate the situation, which on its face would appear to violate a law or two.