$15 Repeal Falling Short...So Far
Fifteen dollars supporters say "it's over," but KC Elections say there are still more ballots to count.
The campaign to repeal Seattle's new $15 minimum wage law is currently falling short of getting the required number of signatures to make the ballot.
Forward Seattle, the group pushing the repeal, needs to get 16,510 valid signatures. And according to the latest count from King County Elections, out of the 18.928 signatures submitted, 15,004 have been reviewed and 11,412 have been verified.
That means Forward Seattle needs another 5,098 valid signatures to reach the mark. However, there are only 3,924 left to count.
"The numbers are clear: Forward Seattle's minimum wage repeal will not qualify for the ballot," a statement from the labor group Working Washington cheered this afternoon.
But King County Elections spokeswoman Kim van Ekstrom cautions supporters of the $15 wage from celebrating yet. While KC Elections has verified 11,412 signatures they have not disqualified the 3,592 signatures that weren't verified; those signatures, which were flagged for a variety of reasons, including illegibility or bad addresses, have simply been set aside—not thrown out—and could still be counted if problems are resolved.
Van Ekstrom said she couldn't speculate on the chances (or historical rate) for a turnaround on the problematic signatures.
Van Ekstrom also notes that a companion repeal measure with 456 verified signatures out 568 submitted is in the mix too. The count on that measure, though, adds to Working Washington's confidence because the rate of turn-arounds there, they say, doesn't bode well for Forward Seattle's measure.
Van Ekstrom says the count should be done in a little over a week.
Seattle's $15 minimum wage law is set to take effect on April 1, 2015 and according to the schedule, Seattle workers at large companies will get raises at that time (above the state's then-$9.54 minimum wage) to $11.00, hitting $15 in 2017 (or 2018 if their company provides health care).
There are incremental raises to $13 in 2016; or to $12.50 in 2016 and then $13.50 in 2017 at companies that provide health care, before hitting $15 in 2018.
Smaller companies don't have to hit the $15 minimum wage until 2021, though they have to provide $15 in total compensation by 2019. The schedule for small companies also includes the incremental raises well above the state minimum along the way.