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.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sam Reed's office says it counts 137,689 signatures for Referendum 71

Secretary of State Sam Reed's office announced this morning that it has tallied submitted 137,689 signatures for Referendum 71, a right wing effort to force a public vote on Washington's newly expanded domestic partnerships law. The official count is three hundred and eleven signatures less than what the referendum's backers estimated they collected.

120,577 valid signatures are required to qualify a referendum for the ballot.

Typically, about eighteen percent of signatures are invalidated during the verification process. The fearmongers behind Referendum 71 cannot afford for even thirteen percent of their signatures to be invalid. If they achieve the low invalid rate that Sam Reed's office claimed that Tim Eyman's Initiative 1033 had (twelve percent) they will squeak on through to the ballot. But they are in danger of not making it.

The Secretary of State is not bothering with a random sample check (probably a good thing) so that means the Elections Division is going to have to check all the signatures on the petitions. Or at least they'll be checking until the number of invalid signatures reaches 17,113.

If there are that many, Referendum 71 won't go on the November ballot and the expanded domestic partnerships law will take effect, as it already should have.

On another note, the fearmongers behind the referendum drive have obtained a restraining order in U.S. District Court preventing the release of the names and addresses of the people who signed the petitions to individuals who want to create a public, Internet-searchable database of the names. This is unfortunate. While we are strong believers in privacy, transparency in government is critical to the well being of democracy. The voter rolls are not a secret, and nor should the names of the people who signed these petitions be.

The people who signed these petitions are forcing the rest of us to vote on this matter. We are entitled to know who they are.


Blogger Amonite said...

Isn't voting on things a -good- thing? I find it upsetting that measures like this - which include such things that those who disagree with gay marraige can be fined or even fired, and adding same-sex books to school curriculum (so, remove all the moral textbooks, but its fine to force kids to read Hello Sailor?) - And since when does 'transparency in government' include spying on your neighbors voting records? When I vote its a sealed ballot, I would expect the same for petitions, as frankly politics is not something I discuss with all of my friends. Some of my friends, yes, but there is no reason to invite harassment or heated debates.

Where in the constitution do I have the right to -know- what my neighbor feels on every issue? If I want to know, I can ask! And I have been harassed enough for having odd beliefs all over the spectrum - it is for this reason intimidation tactics and bullying to get people to line up with the current and changing social norm is so problematic.

And contrary to popular belief, my personal beliefs do not make me a violent right wing terrorist - people voting and signing petitions in secret is not inhibiting public safety.

To imply that it is will make people LESS likely int he future to sign petitions, for fear of neighbors or homeland security! Are we a dictatorship or some regime that rigs the ballots?

Way to stand up for personal liberty.

July 31, 2009 2:11 PM  

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