Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Eyman attacks the Secretary of State

The saga of Tim Eyman's unexpected troubles with Initiative 917 continues to unfold. Today, Eyman released another statement to his supporters and the press, blasting the Secretary of State and refusing to accept responsibility for the lack of signatures submitted for I-917.

Eyman, who has reportedly scheduled a press conference for 7:50 AM tomorrow morning, was very defiant in his email, blaming elections officials. Here's part of what he wrote, complete with grammatical and mechanical errors. (I removed the other junk, like Eyman preaching about the people's right to initiatives or his faux boasting about how successful he is)
Were certain that we turned in 300,353 signatures for Initiative 917 by the July 7 deadline. The Secretary of State says different.


We have weekly reports showing our progress on signatures and we are certain of our count. Each box that we submitted to the Secretary of States office had the number of signatures and the weight of each box recorded on them. Weve asked the Secretary of State for the original boxes so we can do a comparison but they say the original boxes have been recycled.

As reported by the Seattle PI on Friday, Nick Handy, head of the elections division, claims that we were given a receipt on July 7 showing the signature count at 265,809 and that we accepted the receipt.

Thats not true. At the conclusion of our July 7 press conference, the head of their Capitol Building office stamped as received by the Secretary of State a receipt for 300,353 signatures on July 7, 2006. This was recorded and witnessed by KOMO 4 TVs Keith Eldridge and his cameraman.

Again, contrary to Nick Handys claim, the receipt we got on Friday, July 7 documented the count at 300,353, not 265,806. I have a copy of the receipt we were given showing 300,353. Nick Handy was untruthful; and the evidence hes asking people to accept, the receipt issued to us July 7 by the Secretary of States office and stamped July 7 by the Secretary of States office conclusively proves the count was 300,353.
OK, let's stop here for a moment. Eyman is saying he has this receipt from Friday July 7th which somehow proves the signature count was 300,353 signatures.

The 300,353 is Eyman's number. He says that's what he turned in and what his records show. But the Secretary of State's office has reported a much lower number - 266,008 signatures. This current number was established after a recount of all the signatures.

Chris McGann of the Seattle P-I reported this on Friday:
Handy said his office provided Eyman with a receipt for 265,809 signatures the day he filed them -- and that Eyman accepted the receipt.
So, according to the P-I's reporting, the Secretary of State says it gave Eyman a receipt for 265,809 signatures. Eyman claims he got a receipt acknowledging 300,353 signatures - and says he has a copy.

Given that Tim Eyman is an admitted liar, has taken his own supporters' money for personal use, continually attempts to deceive the public and the press with misleading statistics and false information, and refuses to acknowledge the consequences of his initiatives, we obviously can't and won't give him the benefit of the doubt.

We're dealing with someone who thinks it's funny, even hilarious, to goad the press corps into showing up at staged media events where it's implied beforehand that signatures are going to be turned in for a controversial statewide ballot measure - when, in reality, it's just a ploy for extra publicity.

Back to Eyman:
Nick Handys claim that the July 7 receipt showed 265,806 signatures is demonstrably false. Sam Reeds people shouldnt be making false statements to cover up what happened they should be investigating what happened to the missing 34,000 voter signatures.
Uh huh. It's so easy to blame the Secretary of State's office. I mean, Tim Eyman and his shady partners couldn't have made a mistake. It has to be the Secretary of State's office! One of those stinkin' bureaucrats musta pilfered 'em!

Or wait...maybe it wasn't the Secretary of State at all. State troopers guard the signatures. Maybe it was the Washington State Patrol! Or perhaps, more sinister, it was a secret agent of "Queen Christine's", trying to put Eyman out of business. (Republicans seem to blame her for everything anyway.)

What's in it for someone at the Secretary of State's office to risk their reputation...their career...the chance of try and stop Tim Eyman from getting an initiative on the ballot?

The Secretary of State's elections office, of course, is probably used to being under fire by now. They were under constant attack during the gubernatorial election challenge last year, and ended up being vindicated in Chelan County Superior Court. Unlike Tim Eyman, the Secretary of State's office actually has integrity and tries its hardest to responsibly serve the people of Washington State.

In all of our dealings with them, they have been polite and courteous. They've done their best to answer our questions and respond to our comments.

There's one last thing Eyman wrote that is in need of debunking:
The whole reason the constitution requires a signature drive is to prove that theres voter support for the issue.
Yes, that was the original intent of that amendment to the constitution. Unfortunately, a successful signature drive is no longer proof that there is voter support for an issue. Anyone with half a million dollars can employ an army of paid mercenaries to go out and collect the signatures required to qualify something for the ballot - no matter one's issue or ideology.

Is Eyman once again trying to dupe the press corps - and his own supporters - in a desperate attempt to create a smokescreen and put the blame on somebody else? We'll just have to see what happens next.

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