Referendum 71 sponsors now have nearly 70,000 signatures in their column, but still need another 50k to qualify for the Nov. 3 statewide ballot. The measure is sponsored by foes of the state’s newly adopted “everything but marriage” law that gives state-registered domestic partners the same state rights and responsibilities as married couples.
As of the Wednesday evening report, Elections Division crews have now checked 79,195 names submitted by the sponsors, a campaign group called Protect Marriage Washington. The total was up about 6,200 over the previous day.
The error rate rose again in the latest count, to 11.67 percent cumulatively. If they’re to qualify for the ballot, backers need to keep their error rate under 12.4 percent by the time all 137,689 of their signatures are checked.
The bottom line, so far, is that 69,949 signatures have been accepted. It takes 120,577 valid Washington signatures to place a referendum on the ballot – 4 percent of last year’s total vote for governor.
The latest report said 9,246 signatures have been rejected – most of them (7,805) because they couldn’t be found on the state’s database of registered voters. Checkers also have turned down 700 because the signature doesn’t match the one on file and 703 for being duplicate or triplicate signers. Another 38 await an electronic signature from their home county that can be compared with the one on the petition.
The check has been under way all month, with 360 of the 623 “volumes” checked so far. A volume is a batch of 15 petition sheets, each with between 1 and 20 signatures. This is only the third full-signature check in 20 years. Typically, initiative and referendum sponsors submit enough signatures to allow a random sample of between 3 and 5 percent.