Both Washington Initiatives Failing in Early Returns
The campaign over Initiative 522 has been one of the costliest initiative fights in state history, drawing millions of dollars from out of state.
Early polling showed voters favored the measure. But a barrage of TV and radio spots financed by a food industry group and five biotechnology companies has helped narrow the gap.
The measure was failing 47 percent to 53 percent as the first votes were being counted Tuesday night.
If voters approve I-522, Washington would be the first state to put in place labeling requirements genetically modified foods.
Supporters say consumers have the right to know what's in the food they buy, while opponents say the measure would lead to higher food costs.
With more than 950,000 ballots counted, about 60 percent of voters were rejecting Initiative 517 Tuesday night. Because of the state's vote-by mail system, counties will be updating their numbers daily throughout the week.
The measure would have required that voters be allowed to have their say on any proposal that qualifies for the ballot, even if a lawsuit has been filed against it.
The initiative also would have given supporters a year, instead of the current six months, to collect signatures, and it would have made it a misdemeanor to interfere with the signature-gathering process.