WASHINGTON, D.C. — Now that more ballots have been counted, the Center for Food Safety here acknowledged that passage of a Washington state proposal to label genetically engineered foods is unlikely.
While the official vote may not be announced until Dec. 5, the latest tally shows that Initiative 522 was rejected 51.7% to 48.2 %.
Because of Washington state’s vote-by-mail system, ballots had to be postmarked by Election Day Tuesday, Nov. 5. State counties have until Nov. 26 to certify their votes; the Office of the Secretary of State, Dec. 5.
The CFS and other supporters of the measure held out hope over the last week that the ballot initiative still had a chance.
Still, the most recent numbers show that the gap closed from an initial 55% to 45% spread.
“It clearly shows that Washingtonians support labeling, and believe they have a right to know,” said Rebecca Spector, West Coast director for the CFS, a national non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization.
Although the “Yes on 522” campaign’s next step hasn’t been finalized, Spector acknowledged that many ballot initiatives take more than one time to pass.
Another big supporter of I 522, David Bronner, chief executive officer of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, attributes the vote to a well-fund opposition campaign. Bronner said the result would have been different if it was a Presidential Election year, attracting more “younger and progressive” voters.
Win or lose, Bronner said he will keep educating people on GMOs and labeling.
“We’ll continue to move the issue forward,” he said.
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