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R-71 update: Over 11,000 names checked

by David Ammons | August 3rd, 2009

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.

12 Responses to “R-71 update: Over 11,000 names checked”

  1. Tony Nahra says:

    Hi, David… Thank you for the daily updates. I have a question and a comment:

    Question: So far, how many signatures have been duplicates?

    Comment: I take issue with the claim that the DP Expansion law gives same-sex couples rights that are “equal to those of opposite-gender married couples.” I wish it were true, but it’s not. The DP Expansion law gives same-sex couples the rights of marriage offered only by the state, except the right to call it a marriage. DPs are not recognized on the federal level, so any same-sex couple would receive only the state-offered rights of marriage except the name. Opposite-sex couples get all the rights of marriage, including the name “marriage” and all of the federal rights that are automatically conferred.

    Thank you!

  2. What was the number of duplicates? For the sake of statistics, it’s a good idea to get that number out there.

  3. Barb Rhoads-Weaver says:

    How many of the 1,415 rejected signatures were duplicates? Please include that data point in your daily updates. Thank you.

  4. Dave, could you provide day by day break outs, including the number of duplicates in each batch? Thanks.

  5. Thanks for the report. On subsequent days It would be great if you broke out the number of duplicate signatures among the rejected signatures.

  6. David, are these random samples? At the very least, was the first batch (4.1% of the total) a random sample? If so, how is the randomness created?

  7. Due to popular demand — the breakouts! yesterday’s number of signatures checked was 5,856, with 5,096 accepted and 760 rejected. there were 16 dupes, 40 no match of petition signature with what’s on file, 682 not found on voter registration database, 22 listed on the database as registered voters but missing a signature on the database and we’re checking back with the counties.

    the cumulatives as of close of biz yesterday: 11,502 checked, 10,087 accepted, 1,415 rejected, including 23 dupes, 81 no match, 1,274 not registered voters, 37 missing signature and we’re checking.

    Some of the final category, missing signature on the state database, can be shifted over the the accepted pile once we hear back from the counties involved.

  8. Rob– no, this is an every-signature check and each day’s batch will be simply the ones that checkers happen to have on the top of their stacks. it’s interesting to see what the error rate is each day, but not statistically valid.

  9. Secretary Ammons,

    Thank you for keeping us all well informed, but I do have a couple of questions. First, does Washington State make provisions for sealed marriage licenses or is that a question best directed to the counties?

    Second, if this provision is available, would this same provision be made for Domestic Partnerships?

    The reason I ask is because this would still leave our gay and lesbian service members even more vulnerable than they currently are. If the Washington State Domestic Registry is ‘public domain’ as it is in most states where they are available, then there still remains no options for our gay and lesbian service members but to remain “unpartnered” if they wish to keep their jobs in the service. Therefore, this bill which has been deemed “everything but marriage” still does not expand full and equal treatment under the law as marriage. Granted it is better than what it was before, but still not equal.

    A sealed marriage license (or Domestic Partnership) would at least shield a gay or lesbian service member from the the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy (even though they would not be granted the rights/benefits/responsiblities as married service members, but they would at least be able to keep their relationship quit while serving in the armed forces.

  10. My mistake, I apologize, I didn’t mean to refer to you as Secretary. But I would still like to know the answers to my questions if you are able to provide them.

    Thank you so much,
    Dave

  11. Dave– this is from Pamela Floyd, Director of Corporations and Charities for the Office of Secretary of State:

    “Washington treats marriage records as open public records and marriage licenses are often printed in the newspaper the week they are granted. Some counties have uploaded images of their marriage records to the Secretary of State’s Digital Archives, and are searchable at http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/default.aspx . Copies of marriage records can be ordered at the Digital Archives site, by contacting the state Office of Vital Statistics, or by calling the County where the record originated.

    “Currently, the information regarding domestic partnerships is also considered an open public record. Those documents are filed at the Corporations and Charities Division of the Secretary of State. While the images of the documents are not yet available online, copies can be requested by calling or writing the Secretary of State’s office. In addition, the database can be searched for information online at our web site, http://www.secstate.wa.gov/corps/domesticpartnerships/Default.aspx, with just a first and last name or registration number.”

  12. Mr. Ammons,

    Thank you so much for the response. I greatly appreciate it. I was seeking the information to help my brother who is a gay service member and Washington resident who has been with his partner for 16 years who wish to register. Unfortunately, there really isn’t an option until he gets out of the service.

    Thanks again,

    Dave

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