Petitions for Referendum 88
Completed petitions for Referendum 88 (Photographer unknown; from Facebook)

Ini­tia­tive 1000, the Wash­ing­ton State Diver­si­ty, Equi­ty, and Inclu­sion Act, appears head­ed towards a pub­lic vote this Novem­ber thanks to a right wing effort that seeks to over­turn the water­shed mea­sure through a referendum.

Ref­er­en­dum 88, spon­sored by Kan Qiu, asks Wash­ing­to­ni­ans if they want to keep or scrap Ini­tia­tive 1000, which the House and Sen­ate adopt­ed just before Sine Die at the end of the 2019 reg­u­lar leg­isla­tive ses­sion back in April. If a major­i­ty of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans votes Approved, I‑1000 would remain the law of the land and go into effect. If a major­i­ty votes Reject­ed, I‑1000 would be eliminated.

The court-approved bal­lot title for Ref­er­en­dum 88 is as follows:

The leg­is­la­ture passed Ini­tia­tive Mea­sure No. 1000 con­cern­ing affir­ma­tive action and rem­e­dy­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion, and vot­ers have filed a suf­fi­cient ref­er­en­dum peti­tion on this act. Ini­tia­tive 1000 would allow the state to rem­e­dy dis­crim­i­na­tion for cer­tain groups and to imple­ment affir­ma­tive action, with­out the use of quo­tas or pref­er­en­tial treat­ment (as defined), in pub­lic edu­ca­tion, employ­ment, and contracting.

Should Ini­tia­tive 1000 be

  • Approved [ ]
  • Reject­ed [ ]

Qiu’s group sub­mit­ted what it said were close to about 177,000 sig­na­tures today at the Sec­re­tary of State’s Elec­tions Annex in Olympia, and they plan to sub­mit about 20,000 more before the dead­line pass­es for sub­mis­sion of peti­tions, which is this Sat­ur­day at 5 PM. Even with­out those extra sig­na­tures, they appear to eas­i­ly have a sig­nif­i­cant enough sig­na­ture cush­ion to qual­i­fy for a ran­dom sam­ple check.

We believe many of those sig­na­tures were obtained under false pre­tens­es, how­ev­er. Activists from around Wash­ing­ton State have told us that they encoun­tered R‑88 peti­tion­ers who used out­right false­hoods to pitch the ref­er­en­dum, say­ing it would help vet­er­ans and bring back affir­ma­tive action.

But the whole pur­pose of R‑88 is to do the oppo­site… by abol­ish­ing I‑1000.

Sad­ly, the peo­ple behind R‑88 don’t want state agen­cies to have the free­dom to con­duct out­reach to dis­ad­van­taged and his­tor­i­cal­ly under­rep­re­sent­ed groups. They are con­vinced that such out­reach is racism. Their “Let Peo­ple Vote” ral­ly­ing cry is disin­gen­u­ous, as the peo­ple’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives have already vot­ed to adopt I‑1000, which was signed by twice the num­ber of peo­ple who signed R‑88.

NPI has tak­en a posi­tion urg­ing an Approved vote on Ref­er­en­dum 88 in the event it qual­i­fies, which we expect it to. Our board took an Approved posi­tion on R‑88 last month after our staff assessed that the mea­sure was like­ly to qualify.

If you are part of an orga­ni­za­tion that would like to join the coali­tion to safe­guard fair­ness and oppor­tu­ni­ty in Wash­ing­ton, we invite you to join us at

Because R‑88 is on the verge of qual­i­fy­ing, efforts to imple­ment Ini­tia­tive 1000 will be paused, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee said in a state­ment this evening.

Said the Governor:

“The Legislature’s approval of I‑1000 sig­naled an impor­tant com­mit­ment to dis­man­tling the sys­temic bar­ri­ers that keep many Wash­ing­to­ni­ans from hav­ing equal access to edu­ca­tion­al and eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties. Our agen­cies have begun ini­tial prepa­ra­tion to imple­ment the new law, and are pre­pared to launch this work if and when the law is allowed to go into effect. We are await­ing the ver­i­fied count from the Sec­re­tary of State before tak­ing any addi­tion­al action.”

For­mer Gov­er­nor Gary Locke also respond­ed to the sub­mis­sion of sig­na­tures for R‑88 as one of the dis­tin­guished elect­ed lead­ers quot­ed in NPI’s state­ment announc­ing the for­ma­tion of the Approve 88 coalition.

“I believe I‑1000 cel­e­brates our state’s diver­si­ty and is the right action to ensure fair­ness and oppor­tu­ni­ty for all our cit­i­zens,” said Locke, who served as Washington’s chief exec­u­tive from Jan­u­ary of 1997 until Jan­u­ary 2005 and lat­er as the Unit­ed States of America’s Sec­re­tary of Com­merce and Ambas­sador to Chi­na. Locke worked close­ly with fel­low for­mer Gov­er­nors Dan Evans and Chris Gre­goire to cham­pi­on I‑1000 as an ini­tia­tive to the Legislature.

“Con­trary to some beliefs, I‑1000 does not repeal I‑200’s pro­hi­bi­tions on quo­tas, set-asides, or pref­er­ences,” Locke explained.

“I‑1000 mere­ly makes it clear that recruit­ment and out­reach are per­mis­si­ble and pro­vides oppor­tu­ni­ties for vet­er­ans, women, and minori­ties for con­sid­er­a­tion by uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges for admis­sion and for con­tract­ing with governments.”

We deeply appre­ci­ate the work of our four liv­ing gov­er­nors in sup­port of diver­si­ty, oppor­tu­ni­ty, fair­ness, and inclu­sion in Wash­ing­ton. Dan Evans, Chris Gre­goire, Gary Locke, and Jay Inslee have all been out­spo­ken in call­ing for I‑200 to be amend­ed so that our state agen­cies and insti­tu­tions of high­er edu­ca­tion can be cat­a­lysts for improv­ing lives and bet­ter­ing our com­mu­ni­ties. By adopt­ing I‑1000, the Leg­is­la­ture showed it was capa­ble of lis­ten­ing and act­ing on a crit­i­cal issue.

But now I‑1000 is on hold until Ref­er­en­dum 88 is decided.

It’s vital that every­one in Wash­ing­ton who wants to see I‑1000 remain the law of the land get active and join the coali­tion to Approve Ref­er­en­dum 88. Togeth­er, we can keep our state mov­ing for­wards instead of slid­ing backwards.

We hope you’ll join us.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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5 replies on “I‑1000 in jeopardy with right wing poised to qualify Referendum 88 to November ballot”

  1. Right wing? I don’t think the sup­port­ers of R‑88, which would allow the cit­i­zens of Wash­ing­ton to vote on the orig­i­nal ini­tia­tive, are right wing. It is talk like that, that is the source of many of the issues in the coun­try. The peti­tion­ers for I‑1000 also used decep­tive tac­tics in col­lect­ing their sig­na­tures. I signed it last sum­mer and real­ized only lat­er that the col­lec­tor was not telling me the truth about it deal­ing with affir­ma­tive action. If I‑1000 has such over­whelm­ing sup­port then what are you wor­ried about?

    1. The peo­ple behind the R‑88 sig­na­ture dri­ve are def­i­nite­ly right wing. They espouse right wing prin­ci­ples and beliefs. Is every­one who signed R‑88 right wing? No. You are cor­rect that mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tions were also made dur­ing the I‑1000 sig­na­ture dri­ve by peti­tion­ers work­ing that cam­paign. The I‑1000 sig­na­ture dri­ve, inci­den­tal­ly, was han­dled by the same com­pa­ny (Cit­i­zen Solu­tions) that is being pros­e­cut­ed by Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son for vio­lat­ing Wash­ing­ton State’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws in tan­dem with Tim Eyman.

  2. Why are you so annoyed by “let peo­ple vote”. If you are con­fi­dent and think only a small num­ber of right [wing peo­ple] sup­port [the mea­sure], why not let peo­ple vote and hear what most peo­ple think. I always think we, the peo­ple, not the fake news, can make the right choices.

    1. We’re not annoyed, Robert: we’re opposed to what you’re try­ing to do, which is repeal I‑1000.

      We expect­ed Ref­er­en­dum 88 to qualify. 

      It took only a mat­ter of hours for your eager group’s mantra to change from “Let peo­ple vote” to “Reject R‑88”. That is your real objec­tive: you don’t mere­ly want vot­ers to weigh in on this issue, you want vot­ers to repeal I‑1000. That’s the point of this post: to call out your true agen­da and to reit­er­ate NPI’s com­mit­ment to defend­ing Wash­ing­ton’s Diver­si­ty, Equi­ty, and Inclu­sion Ac.

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