Civics 101: Initiative, referendum.. same difference. NOT!

I had the awesome opportunity to attend Capitol Hill Block Party this past weekend working at the awesome Washington Bus Booth (yes, the one with the BOMB popsicles), and eventually found myself on stage along with some of my fellow fellows introducing Jay Inslee introducing Twin Shadow (INTRODUCTION-CEPTION!)

During his speech, Inslee mentioned his favorite song, which was the three day old “Same Love” by “The Macklemore”, as well as talked his support for INITIATIVE 74. Now, on stage I never really noticed it because of the fact that I was on stage in front a bajillion people, but I was later on informed by some friends and The Stranger on his little “oopsie”.

In honor of our Civics 101 theme for the summer, let’s take the time to define what a hell a referendum actually is and how it’s different from an initiative, because if you were to ask me was the difference was prior to this program, I would have looked something like this:

Let us start with the Merriam-Webster definition of referendum: “The principle or practice of submitting to popular vote a measure passed on or proposed by a legislative body or by popular initiative.”

In other words, a referendum is a direct vote by an entire electorate (which includes YOU if you’re a registered voter!) That will accept or reject a particular proposal.

For example, Referendum 74 came to be after HB2516 was passed and signed by Governor Christine Gregoire on February 13th and was to take effect last month, which marked the end of the Legislative session.

Unfortunately, those who opposed collected enough signatures by registered voters for a petition to put the bill up for popular vote, also known as an INITIATIVE. In this case, those who opposed were required to collect a minimum of 120,000 signatures, and ended up doubling that amount. In an attempt to stay relentlessly positive on the situation, this gives Washington state the chance to become the FIRST STATE IN HISTORY to pass marriage equality through popular vote. Sounds pretty good to me.

If you didn’t know already, The Washington Bus alongside Washington United for Marriage is working hard to spread the word to APPROVE Referendum 74 this November.  So remember to UPDATE/REGISTER by October 8th, VOTE, and APPROVE Referendum 74 on November 6th!

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