Did you get suckered into signing an anti-$15 petition?
  • wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com
  • Did you get suckered into signing a petition you didn't mean to sign?
As you hopefully are well aware, Seattle's city government passed a $15 minimum wage law earlier this summer, and then pretty quickly a business-backed group started a referendum campaign to undo the law and instead put it before voters this November. They turned in almost 19,000 total signatures, according to the city clerk's office. They need about 16,500 valid ones to succeed, so given that some of them will be repeats or not registered voters or otherwise invalid, they're cutting it pretty close but could certainly still make it.

Lots of people seemed confused about what it meant to sign that referendum, and there have been reports that the signature gatherers on the street told people that signing would help raise the minimum wage, or that somehow the law wasn't in effect yet and that a referendum would make it go into effect. That's just not the case: You referendum laws you don't like so that you can then defeat them at the ballot. If you approve of the wage raise, you didn't need to do anything, because it's already law.

So: If you signed a referendum petition even though you support the $15 minimum wage, and you wish you could take your signature back, you can. But the deadline to do so is this Friday morning at 9:00 a.m. All the withdrawal requests must be received by the city clerk's office by then. What to do? According to city clerk's office spokeswoman Christie Villa, you have to describe in your request what referendum you signed, give your name, and sign your request to withdraw the same way you signed the original petition (don't suddenly use your maiden name or a nickname or something). The exact language of the law is below the jump if you want to clarify further.

According to Villa, "written requests may be directed by e-mail to the receiving officer, Monica Martinez Simmons, City Clerk, at the following email address: Monica.Simmons@seattle.gov, or submitted in person at the City Clerk’s Office, located in City Hall, 600 4th Avenue, Third Floor."

Since the deadline is so tight, Working Washington, the labor-backed campaign that helped organize last year's fast-food strikes and worked to pass Seattle's $15 minimum wage law, wants to help anyone who's in this situation. They put together a form you can fill out and print if you want to do it yourself, or you can stop by their downtown offices by 3 p.m. tomorrow to sign one there, at 215 Columbia Street, and they'll drop it off for you at City Hall. If you need to arrange something outside of business hours, they might be able to do that if you give them a call at (866) 385-9509. They will also be at four different Molly Moon outlets (Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Wallingford, and U Village) from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight with withdraw-your-signature forms.

If you signed the petition with full knowledge of what you were doing, then there's nothing to see here, folks. You'll find out if you successfully referendum-ed the minimum wage after King County Elections finishes their signature verification process, which starts as soon as that signature-withdrawal deadline.

The Office of the Seattle City Clerk must receive a written request from the signer as prescribed in RCW 35.21.005:

Any signer of a filed petition may withdraw his or her signature by a written request for withdrawal filed with the receiving officer prior to such terminal date. Such written request shall so sufficiently describe the petition as to make identification of the person and the petition certain. The name of any person seeking to withdraw shall be signed exactly the same as contained on the petition and, after the filing of such request for withdrawal, prior to the terminal date, the signature of any person seeking such withdrawal shall be deemed withdrawn.