by David Ammons | September 1st, 2009
State election crews were wrapping up final signature-checks for Referendum 71 Tuesday night, paving the way for Secretary of State Sam Reed to certify the measure to the statewide ballot on Wednesday morning.
The referendum is sponsored by foes of the newly adopted “everything but marriage” expansion of state rights for domestic partners who are on the Secretary of State’s domestic partner registry created by the Legislature.
Voters’ choice will be to approve or reject the new law, Senate Bill 5688, which would have taken effect July 26 had not the referendum been filed.
As of early evening, workers were mostly finished with their final check of newly registered voters, adding a relatively small number of signatures that initially had been rejected by checkers without access to a live version of the statewide voter registration database. As of the latest report, 230 signatures were added to the “accepted” pile, bringing the total accepted to 121,847.
That was 1,270 more than the bare minimum needed to secure a place on the Nov. 3 ballot.
The count including a final check of 565 of the 624 batches of petitions that were assembled for checking. Each batch, or volume, had about 15 petition sheets, each bearing between 1 and 20 signatures. Crews were working through the evening and the final numbers will be posted on Wednesday, when Secretary Reed certifies the measure to the ballot.
Supporters of the new law have asked King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector to block the measure from the ballot, challenging some of the signature-checking policies of the Elections Division. She was scheduled to release her ruling on Wednesday. Challengers also have a 5-day window after certification to file suit in Thurston County.
The new daily recap showed that 16,034 were rejected, at least temporarily, including most (12,487) because the signer wasn’t found on the voter rolls, 58 awaiting an electronic voter signature from their home county, 1,396 whose petition signature didn’t match the one on file, and 2,093 duplicates.
The group’s error rate was running 11.63 percent as of Tuesday evening, significantly lower than the historic average of 18 percent for the past two decades. Sponsors could absorb no more than a 12.4 percent invalidation rate and still make the ballot.