Alex Blaze

Washington gays file suit in petition signature count

Filed By Alex Blaze | August 31, 2009 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: cast a ballot, domestic partnership, larry stuckney, marriage, r-71, Washington

I've been scanning headlines about how the signature count is going in Washington for R-71, which would ban roll-back the everything-but-the-M-word domestic partnerships law the legislature enacted this past year (damn those activist legislators!). Washington Families Standing Together (pro-DP's) thinks the homophobes violated a few state laws and that the Secretary of State looked the other way, and now they're taking the SoS to court. They're accusing the other side of submitting (and the SoS of ignoring):

  1. Petitions that didn't have the official oath attesting to the validity of the signatures signed
  2. Petitions where that oath was stamped-signed by Larry Stickney, president of the Washington Values Alliance, since he didn't collect the signatures
  3. Signatures from unregistered voters
  4. Signatures from voters who registered after July 25, 2009 (when the petitions were filed)

They're also saying that the SoS didn't check all of the signatures and wouldn't even check the sample they asked them to, even after knowing that there was a high rate of false signatures.

The homophobes need 120,577 to get on the ballot, and they submitted 137,689. There are 33,966 Larry Stickney signatures and 2058 signatures on petitions where the oath was left entirely blank, plus an unknown number from unregistered voters. If even a fraction of their claims are accepted by the court and the signatures get tossed, there won't be a ballot question about DP's in Washington in 2010 November.

Regarding the oath, here it is:


It sure looks to me like Larry Stuckney can't stamp-sign them all.

It makes me wonder about why the Washington Values Alliance would do that. They usually get some staffers, some volunteers, or maybe an outside firm to lie to people, get signatures through any means necessary, sign and turn them in, and no one sues because there's really no way to prove how many laws the anti-gay side broke or how many signatures are tainted.

But stamp-signing all of them with Larry Stuckney's name is just so obvious. Either the Washington Values Alliance is just bad at their job, or there's a deeper problem here.

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A couple of things:

1) Ref. 71 wouldn't ban the domestic partnerships legislation; it would reverse an expansion to an existing domestic partnerships law.

2) If this thing makes the ballot, it will be voted on in November, not 2010.

They must not really want to win. They're getting sloppy...

On top of this, it is boggling that they would expend this amount of time, energy and resources on an effort that comes so close to the threshold, and then shoot themselves in the foot with the stamp-signatures. I can only guess they have some serious training and/or oversight problems.

I agree. Unfortunately the Republican Secretary of State has an item on his web site that the signature-gatherer oath need not be filled out at all. By that reasoning, the right wing figured the stamp was going 'above and beyond' what is required.

But the law, and the form, is awfully clear about what is required. For all those that think that it's okay to elect Republicans to offices that don't deal with social justice issues, this should be yet another example of why that isn't the case.

If anyone is interested in helping WA. retain the expanded DP benefits, please visit the Washington Families Standing Together web site