State Election workers, on the second day of checking signatures for Referendum 71, have now processed over 11,000 names, and the campaign’s error rate continues at a low 12.31 percent level.
As of close of business Monday, 11,502 signatures have been checked, and 10,087 have been accepted and 1,415 have been rejected, mostly because the person does not show up on the voter rolls. The supervisor of the initiatives and referendum desk notes that the error rate will vary somewhat from day to day. The petitions are checked in no particular order and a future batch may have a better or worse error rate.
The important number to remember is that referendum sponsors need 120,577 valid signatures to earn a place on the November ballot. That is equal to 4 percent of the total vote for governor last fall. Sponsors submitted 137,689 signatures on July 25.
R-71 sponsors are seeking a statewide public vote this fall on Washington’s new “everything but marriage” law that expands rights and privileges of state-registered domestic partners so that they are equal to those of opposite-gender married couples.
The bill, Senate Bill 5688, ordinarily would have taken effect July 26, but is on hold while the referendum sponsored by foes is pending. The signature-by-signature check began last Friday.
Two groups, WhoSigned.org and the Washington Coalition for Open Government, have requested copies of the petitions, but the sponsors have a federal court order blocking the Secretary of State from releasing the public records until a full hearing is held on Sept. 3 in Tacoma.