The signature count for Referendum 71 surged to well over the half-way mark Tuesday, with 72,976 signatures now processed – and a cumulative error rate edging upward to 11.32 percent.
State Elections Division checkers, working double shifts and hoping to wrap up the count by month’s end, added an additional 7,000-plus new signatures and are now reporting results from 328 of the 623 bound volumes (15 petition sheets, each with between 1 and 20 signatures). Thus far, they’ve accepted 64,713 signatures and rejected 8,263. The latter category includes 6,996 who were not found on the state voter database, 34 awaiting the voter’s electronic signature from their home county so it can be compared with the signature on file, 640 whose signature doesn’t match the one of file, and 593 duplicates.
Numbers for each batch of petitions are found in a cumulative spread sheet online.
Sponsors, a campaign group called Protect Washington Families, are seeking a statewide ballot spot for their effort to overturn a new “everything but marriage” expansion of state rights for state-registered domestic partners. The legislation, Senate Bill 5688, was passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor, and was one day away from taking effect when R-71 sponsors brought in 137,689 signatures, at least temporarily suspending the legislation. If the referendum is qualified to the ballot, an affirmative vote would uphold the legislation as written and a vote to reject the referendum would serve as a citizen veto of the law.
Election workers have been checking the signatures all month.