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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Oregon GMO Labeling Advocates Vow To Push Ahead Despite Washington Loss

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Stephen D. Melkisethian
/
Flickr
File photo of a protest in Washington DC on October 12, 2013.

The latest vote tallies from Washington confirm voters have rejected an initiative to require labels for food containing genetically modified organisms.

But the vote is not stopping activists in Oregon from pushing a similar measure for next year's ballot.

Scott Bates of GMO Free Oregon admits that the downfall of Initiative 522 certainly doesn't make things easier for his group.

"It would have been better if it had passed but it's not going to change our course of action at all," he says. "We're still moving forward to some degree with even more determination than before."

Bates hopes to begin collecting signatures soon in order to put the initiative before Oregon voters next fall. He says the outcome in Washington makes it clear that his campaign will have to work that much harder to explain to voters what his group thinks are the risks of genetically modified foods.

Initiative 522 had been ahead in early polling but sunk rapidly in the face of a $22 million ad campaign by opponents. Many of the ads focused on exceptions in the Washington initiative that are similar to the ones included in the Oregon measure.

An ag industry group called Oregonians for Food and Shelter has said it plans to fight the measure should it reach the ballot.