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A Washington State ballot initiative that would have mandated the labeling of GMOs in food products there appears to be failing, though Politico notes that a great many votes remain uncounted, making it impossible to make a definitive call one way or the other.

Anti-GMO labeling votes accounted for 54.8 percent of the tally, compared to 45.1 percent of voters who supported the initiative.

According to Politico, "The delay in the final count is due to the fact that Washington is a mail-in ballot state, and it will count any ballots postmarked by Nov. 5 — even if those ballots arrive at the end of the week. As a result, the tally on election night often only reflects about 60 percent of the votes that ultimately will be received, according to Brian Zylstra, a spokesman for Washington’s Office of the Secretary of State. If that holds true in this election, with 997,566 ballots counted on election night, another 665,044 could be in the mail."

The battle over the GMO labeling initiative has been an extraordinarily expensive one, with $30 million spent in total - $22 million by anti-labeling forces that included the food and biotech industries, and close to $8 million by proponents of labeling laws.
KC's View:
While the final vote count may not be in, I won't be hugely surprised if the ballot initiative fails. That's usually what happens when a ton of money gets thrown at an issue, which is exactly what happened here. Anti-labeling forces, supported by corporate dollars that simply could not afford to let this pass, got together and proved that in electoral politics, money often wins. And until lawsuit threats forced the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) to reveal where the money was coming from, these corporate interests preferred to operate in the shadows, because that's where the anti-transparency forces thrive.

I continue to believe, however, that these folks are on the wrong side of history. The calls for greater transparency will continue, and I think that defeats like these will only serve to energize the people who believe that labeling is information, not condemnation, and that information is better for consumers, not worse.

For the moment, I am more concerned about the continued impact of big money on political discourse than I am about GMO transparency. It is a bigger, much more insidious problem.