R-71 qualifies for the ballot

The latest R-71 data release shows that the signature verification process is all but complete. A total of 137,881 signatures have been examined (a little more than the 137,689 they thought they had).

Total of 121,617 signatures have been accepted, giving a margin of 1,040 signatures over the 120,577 needed for the referendum to qualify for the ballot. I don’t believe all of the third-stage checks have been completed, so the number of valid signatures may increase some more.

Some 16,198 invalid signatures were found, for an cumulative rejection rate of 11.75%. The invalid signatures include 12,710 that are not found in the voting rolls, 2,093 duplicates, and 1,395 that did not match the signature on file. There are also 66 signatures still pending, so the number will change a bit.

The certification is scheduled for Wednesday.

What this means is that R-71 will (almost certainly) be be on the ballot, asking Washington citizens to confirm or deny the “everything by marriage” law that was passed last session.

In other words, if you want the law to take effect, you would vote YES on R-71. A NO vote is a vote to scrap the domestic partnership law.

There is one snag that may keep R-71 from the ballot. There is a pending lawsuit challenging two aspects of the signature verification process:

Arguments by supporters of the new law centered around the acceptance of over 35,000 signatures without a full declaration on the petitions signed by the signature-gatherer, and whether it is valid to accept signatures of people who signed up to become voters at the same time they signed petitions. The Elections Division has accept signers who are found on current lists of registered voters, and has not rejected voter signatures on petitions without the full declaration by the solicitor.

A ruling is expected on Wednesday morning.

An interesting thing about this case is the lawyers involved. The challengers are being represented by David Burman. You may remember him as one of the lawyers representing Gov. Gregoire in the 2004 gubernatorial election contest. Or maybe you recall him from the 2008 senatorial election contest in Minnesota.

The lawyer representing R-71 sponsors is Stephen Pidgeon. Last year Pidgeon represented a group that sued Sam Reed challenging Barack Obama’s eligibility to be President. The case (Broe v. Reed) was dismissed by the Washington State Supreme Court in early January.

I don’t think these particular successes and failures have much bearing on the success or failure of the R-71 court challenge, but they sure spice things up!


  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    It seems to me people who submit a voter registration form and sign a petition at the same time aren’t registered voters, so their signatures shouldn’t count. A person doesn’t become a voter until their registration is submitted, reviewed, and accepted.

  2. 3

    Richard Pope spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 1

    Things have always been different in practice. People can attend and vote at political party precinct caucuses (in both major parties), simply by signing and submitting a registration form at the caucus.

    The voter registration law requires someone to register to vote at least 30 days before an election in order to vote in the election. There are no similar provisions requiring ADVANCE registration of any sort to sign a petition.

    Petitions must generally be signed three to four months before the election at which the ballot measure would be considered. This is a LOT longer than the 30 day deadline to register to vote before an election.

  3. 5

    Lurleen spews:

    Vote “APPROVED” on Ref. 71. Here is the actual ballot language:

    Statement of Subject: The legislature passed Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5688 concerning rights and responsibilities of state-registered domestic partners and voters have filed a sufficient referendum petition on this bill.

    Concise Description: This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations accorded state-registered same-sex and senior domestic partners to be equivalent to those of married spouses, except that a domestic partnership is not a marriage.

    Should this bill be:

    Approved ___
    Rejected ___

    Ballot Measure Summary
    Same-sex couples, or any couple that includes one person age sixty-two or older, may register as a domestic partnership with the state. Registered domestic partnerships are not marriages, and marriage is prohibited except between one man and one woman. This bill would expand the rights, responsibilities, and obligations of registered domestic partners and their families to include all rights, responsibilities, and obligations granted by or imposed by state law on married couples and their families.

  4. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Richard Pope @3 — The first sentence of RCW 29A.72.230 says:

    Upon the filing of an initiative or referendum petition, the secretary of state shall proceed to verify and canvass the names of the legal voters on the petition.

    From this it appears a person already has to be a voter to sign a referendum or initiative petition. Merely filling out a registration form does not make one a “legal voter.”

  5. 9

    Colin spews:

    Did you know that more than 1,000 signatures were signed by one person on the “behalf” of others, which is illegal? It’s in the lawsuit. Everyone should read it.

    Election officials continue to say “this is the way we always done it” yet you didn’t use the new registration databases until the 16th day of counting (8/21/09) when the rejection rate was approaching 12.43% and you didn’t use “master checkers” until the 6th of counting (8/07/09) after the rejection rate passed 12.43%.

    Let’s go back and review.

    8/06/09 – Rejection rate 13.54%
    The next day “master checkers” came in for the first time to look at only the already rejected signatures.
    8/07/09 – Rejection rate 11.63%
    As a result of “master checkers” look at the already rejected signatures the rejection rate dropped from 13.54% to 11.63%. Then on Monday and Tuesday of the following week “junior checkers” and “master checkers” looked at the already rejected signature AGAIN. That’s FOUR looks at the rejected signatures with FOUR different numbers.
    8/11/09 – Rejection rate 10.42%
    After looking at the already rejected signatures for a third and fourth time the rejection rate dropped to 10.42%, the lowest level the rejection rate ever been. It is standard for the rejection rate to climb as the counting continues, obviously on 8/06/09 R-71 had no chance of making the ballot and was given three more shots by election officials to lower the rejection rate by only looking at the already rejected signatures three more times.
    8/12/09 – Rejection rate 10.65%
    8/13/09 – Rejection rate 10.68%
    8/14/09 – Rejection rate 10.99%
    8/17/09 – Rejection rate 11.03%
    8/18/09 – Rejection rate 11.32%
    8/19/09 – Rejection rate 11.67%
    8/20/09 – Rejection rate 11.97%
    From 8/12/09 to 8/20/09 the rejection rate climbed EVERY day. It became clear with a rejection rate heading over the needed amount and with 35.9% of signatures still to be looked at something had to be done. Magically the next day election officials “found” new registration databases. Election officials decide to look at all the already rejected signatures with the new databases over an extended period not the one through way they did on 8/07/009, 8/10/09, and 8/11/09. As a result over the next few days the percent of “registration not found” goes down from 10% on 8/20/09 to 9.38% on 8/28/09.
    8/21/09 – Rejection rate 11.68%

    Has anyone else noticed election officials decided to change procedures on Fridays (8/07/09 and 8/21/09) when people (like journalists) would leave work for the week and when it became clear this referendum wouldn’t make the ballot?

  6. 10

    tensor spews:

    Well, I’m sure the folks at Sound Politics will be demanding the exclusion of all signatures which cannot be absolutely verified to the highest legal standard. They wouldn’t want to take a chance on allowing invalid signatures, right?


  7. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @10 I think it’s more likely that Stefan will file a public records request with the SoS for 600,000 documents hoping they’ll miss one so he can get another $225,000.

    Which reminds me of a story Lem Howell told at a legal seminar some years ago. He got a $175,000 settlement for a guy who fell into a construction excavation. A couple years later the guy came in to Lem’s office again, explained he had gone through the $175,000, and wanted to know if Lem could get him another $175K if he fell into another hole. Lem threw him out.

    And that’s what the courts should do to Stefan if he goes panning for taxpayer gold again.

  8. 14

    SJ's sockpuppet spews:

    Given the nutty wording of this thing, I have mixed feelings.

    It is hard to imagine anyone who is pro marriage, NOT voting yes on this.

    I can imagine the competing ads:

    A vote NO on R71 is a vote against marriage.

    A vote YES on R71 is a vote against marriage.

    or maybe the ad agencies will come up with some neat neologisms …

  9. 15

    bluesky spews:

    David Burman is one very smart and capable attorney. I observed him in awe at the Governor trial in Wenatchee in 2005. It was so much fun watching him carefully pick apart some of the more arcane parts of the ‘Thugs’ arguments.

  10. 16

    SJ's sockpuppet spews:

    A Reason to Vote No on 71

    R71 creates a new age of maturity.

    16 to drive
    18 to join the Marines or vote
    21 to drink
    62 to partner with someone else, unless you are gay!

    Equal rights for straight people, No on R71????

  11. 17

    SJ's sockpuppet spews:

    Before ANYONE takes me seriously ….

    I will vote for R71. Then I want a lawsuit to overturn the nutty idea that straight people can not be trusted to partner until they are 62.

    Thisn si such an odd idea … first they let us senior citizens into movies for free, the nthey give us an extra income for getting over 65, then they let us partner with each other even if we are not gay????????????????????????????????????????????????????

  12. 18

    proud leftist spews:

    With regard to R-71, we need to gird for battle. Those who claim that voting yes will somehow undermine marriage, don’t recognize what married people (and ex-married people) have already done to undermine marriage. Let’s squash these people–we live, after all, in one of the bluest states. If our gay friends want to commit to each other, and have the same rights as those of us who are married, we need to help them. Personally, I don’t feel my marriage threatened by permitting people of the same sex to marry. Why do you feel your marriage so threatened, Puddy, Cynical, Mark(s)?

  13. 19

    SJ's sockpuppet spews:

    @18 pl

    I think you miss the point.

    Read the effin, stoopid text. This monstrocity EXPLICITLY protects marriage as usually defined .. that is between two folks of different gender.

    The tact to take is that R71 DEFENDS marriage.

    All that R71 does is support the constitutional right of free association.


    vote YES on R71.

    Can’t you see the pro commercials now …

    Camera comes up behind to gray haired ladies, rocking on the porch. Voice over says … R71 means we get a fair brake on taxes and healthcare.

    I can not wait to see the elderly campaigners for this … imagine a cordon of walkers chained together around the fountain at Seattle Center … slogan “Don’t Break Us Up!”

  14. 20

    proud leftist spews:

    I’m fully aware of what the text of the referendum says. I guess my point above is that marriage is hardly sacrosant in the hetero community, given what heteros have done to the “institution of marriage.” I think a campaign for R-71 that emphasizes strengthening the concept of marriage as a lifelong commitment, and a broadening of civil rights for those who don’t get much by way of civil rights, would be a good way to go.

  15. 21

    tensor spews:

    “16 to drive

    62 to partner with someone else, unless you are gay!”

    But what about driving while gay? What will R-71 do about that? :)

  16. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @13 Lem is a hell of a good lawyer. I like him, among other reasons, because he sues cops. Back in the ’80s, I frequently saw him at 37th District Democratic functions. The local press called him a “political gadfly.” I remember attending a party function at Lou Tice’s mansion. There was some cleanup to do, so I volunteered for kitchen duty. I washed the dishes and Monica Benton dried them with a dish towel. (At the time, she was a young deputy prosecutor in Norm Maleng’s office; she’s now a U.S. Magistrate Judge.) Len didn’t lift a finger. He just sat on a barstool drinking wine. Frankly, I thought that was kind of cheesy. But I liked his stories, I liked the fact he was a Democrat, and I liked the fact he sued cops who shot black people. I guess he figured he’d earned enough stripes that he didn’t have to wash dishes anymore.

    I’m not like that. Even though I’m a high profile political commentator and the future king of the rabbits, I still open doors for people and that sort of shit. I don’t even ask if they’re Republicans. Anyway, after Vietnam I went to law school on the G.I. Bill — damn, there’s that gummint socialism again! — and was already a lawyer when I joined the Army Reserve. (If you wingfucks want to know what my job in the Reserves was, it was teaching recruits and officer candidates how to shoot miliary weapons. I’ve fired everything from M-14 rifles to .50-cal. machineguns and even artillery. So, if any traitors out there want to start a civil war and think they’re gonna fuck with me, I say go right ahead …)

    Anyhow, when I got to the Reserve unit, the guys were a little skeptical at first. And not just because I’m only 30 inches tall to the tips of my ears. They figured a lawyer wouldn’t do what they had to do — wash pots and pans, sweep floors, clean latrines, etc. But I pitched right in and did the dirty work and worked hard at it, and they respected me for it. I’ve always had a work ethic like that.

    You’d never see a Republican do what I did. Hell, he wouldn’t open a door for his own mother! Unless she paid him. And he sure as hell wouldn’t volunteer for Vietnam and then enlist in the Reserves to use his war experience to teach greenies how to fight and survive. It takes a Democrat, and it helps if you’re a rabbit.

    One thing about being a rabbit, you can disappear a lot easier in tall grass when the shit hits the fan, so to speak, and you can buff a barracks floor in no time just by playing Slip-N-Slide on your furry fanny.

  17. 23

    SeattleJew's Sockpuppet spews:

    @20 pl

    We agree, FWIW, I believe the gay community is wrong to attack the traditional definition. I believe we should and can have both: full freedom of association, including commitment, while leaving the institution of heterosexual marriage intact.

    Whether you agree with me or not, I think mjy POV is largely that of the great majority of folks. Even in Europe, the”answer” in one form or another is to allow civil unions for everyone, with marriage just one form (usually the form administered by religion).

    This thing is insulting to almost everyone ..sort of like the death panel folks. If anything the outrage at this may help the gay movement convince more folks how nutty the bigots are.

  18. 25

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @19 Nothing will ever top the Republican ads for repealing the inheritance tax. They put up billboards showing granny with her suitcase on the curb in front of her little house with the white picket fence. Of course, they didn’t tell voters that the inheritance tax applies only to millionaires.

    Free speech is a great thing. It means anybody can tell whoppers that would make a grifter blush. And Republicans take full advantage of their constitutional right to lie.

  19. 28

    proud leftist spews:

    Rog @ 22
    I’m a bit tired, and this is a public forum, but the sentiment you express is about right. People can do right for others, but, on the other hand, be looking out for himself in the first place. I don’t have your history. I was a baby lawyer, in about 1989, when I met our protaganist. In a bar, just south of the King County Courthouse. I think that washing the dishes of your staff is always a good thing to do. I’m going to stop now.

  20. 29

    Now you see it spews:

    I can’t believe there are that many scumbag “stop the fags, niggers and Jews” type people still living in this state. This is horrible. NO ONE will look back in 50 years and think, wow, they really defended ‘straight’ marriage from those gays! Just like NO ONE looks back now and thinks, wow, thank god good Americans defended white marriage from the blacks.

    Yet again, the angry dumb people make a stand and the good people have to fight back. You think after blaming Jews, Gypsies, immigrants, blacks, Irish, Polish, etc, etc, etc for our problems these idiots would finally give up. But no…the gays are the problem now. If we can ONLY stop them the world will be like it (never) was.

    People like @18 are either just massively dumb or so mean and vindictive it’s scary. They’re ok with straight people getting married, but gay couples can’t have get married or have ANY rights even “like” marriage…otherwise gays would have some ‘special’ rights? How f**king dumb is this guy? Only if I had full marriage rights would we even be EQUAL, much less some special rights. The reason for the Domestic Partnership laws is because racists scumbags like @18 won’t LET gays get married.

    I’m just upset and sad when I see the KKK types winning anywhere. I always want to think we’ve evolved past that…but then it hits home…there’s still SO many angry dumb people in the world who just “hate” and blame “them” for all the problems.

    P.S. Fun fact! The state with the lowest divorce rate in the NATION is the state that has had gay marriage the longest! The highest divorce rates? The highest rates of failed familes? Nevada, Alabama, Tennessee and Oklahoma. Does anyone find that funny or ironic at all? I know these folks live in a fantasy world that is the exact opposite of reality, but wow…still…

  21. 30

    SeattleJew's Sockpuppet spews:

    @29 Now You

    The good news is that the bigots who wrote this DID let their bigotry carry them way beyond the the marriage v civil union issue.

    One of the things that bothers me about marriage v civil unions is that it assume that gay sex is the only reason folks want to commit to each other. That is utterly wrong.

    I know many people, priests, buddhist monks, sibs, and of course older folks who want to “pair up.” They may want to do this for companionship, for financial reasons, or for whatever reason THEY want.

    Hell, two straight gals or two sibs of any sex might even want to pair up so they can adopt a kid! I like the latter thought a lot.

    Just for fun imagine a brother and sister who for some reason do not want to marry, eschew intercourse, but want to adopt a kid and wish to do this as a couple. A civil union would protect their joint parental rights and provide a legal basis for a “family.” Do they need to practice incest to live together?

    Of course, under R71, they could not get a civil union. I smell a court case ! Why ban civil unions just because of a lack of sexual interest?

    The sex thing seems to also be why R71 permits same sex unions over age 62. This image would be hilarious if ti were not so effin dumb. Should the law ban civil union for 63 y.o.s if one partner is using viagra?

  22. 31

    SeattleJew's Sockpuppet spews:

    226 Roger

    Given the mentality of R71, I think it should apply to rabbits, or at least to pookahs. May I remind you that Jimmy Stewart and Harvey were not gay!

  23. 32

    SeattleJew's Sockpuppet spews:

    What is a Pooka?

    I realize that some here are illiterate or spiritually deprived so I wanted to provide link on the pooka.

    For those who would like to meet a pooka, one usually attends DL on Tuesday nights. He is the big fella in the empty chair by the bar.

    Some FAQs on the DL pooka:

    1. Darryl is not a pooka. For one thing his ears are too short.

    2. SJ is not a pooka, though he fantasizes about that.

    3. Roger Rabbit might be a pooka, has anyone asked him?

    4. Pookas always pair with a human and do so for life. This is not covered by R71 since pookas don’t have gender.

    5. The partner for the DL pooka remains a mystery. Goldy is too serious to have a pooka. Pookas also would not pair with anyine as intense as Lee. This also pretty well rules out anyone who works for Microsoft.

    6. As a pooka expert, I suspect that the DL pooka might belong to Clark? OTOH, has nayhone ever seen Clark without the fedorah .. is he hiding EARS under that hat?

    7. Buying a beer for the DL pooka is an act recognized by God as a class 2 good deed.

    Cross posted at SJ.

  24. 33

    Richard Pope spews:

    SJ @ 16

    R71 creates a new age of maturity.

    16 to drive
    18 to join the Marines or vote
    21 to drink
    62 to partner with someone else, unless you are gay!

    R-71 does happen to be seriously flawed legislation. Two wrongs don’t make a right! Just because the folks who advocate rejecting R-71 happen to have the wrong ideas on equal rights, this doesn’t mean we should approve the legislation now that we get a chance to vote on it.

    Why should straight people generally be denied the benefits of domestic partnership? And to make matters worse, there is the exception that allows only straight people over 62 to enter into domestic partnerships.

    What if some slight concession on marriage equality was made to gay people, by allowing only gays over 62 to get married?

  25. 34

    SeattleJew's Sockpuppet spews:

    @33 R Pope

    I hope you understand sarcasm when you see it ..was I too subtle?

    R71, as worded, taken in and of itself is a very conservative document. That is why this issue is so bizarre. The responsible or even nearly rational right should all vite YES on R71.

    My own POV is a bit ironic as I believe we should separate the issue of religion, marriage, from the civil issue of union. If R71 were written my way it would be a hell of a lot simpler … under the right of free association, I would just have a law that said the State recognizes a type of contract that entails f life long commitment and recognition of the members of the pair as next of kin.

    BTW ..

    may I let you in on a little secret ….? Do not tell anyone ..

    (R71 is actually a MOVIE gimmick! The flick is being jointly produced by Spike Lee and Woody Allen. The movie stars John Voight as a Beck-like talking head who campaigns on the radio against gay marriage and Merry Streep and jay-Z as an improbable mixed couple (she is Jewish and conservative he is Black and a closet gay-christian. Sheriff Reichert plays the cop investigating the supposed kidnapping of Voight’s daughter .. but the kidnapping turns out to be a publicity hoax to raise the station’s ratings. Production has already begun with scenes filmed at DL .. the opening scene has a DL group sitting around the table debating R71 when the sheriff walks in …).

  26. 35

    Colin spews:

    APPROVE Referendum 71. Gay couples deserve the eaxact rights heterosexual couples have.

  27. 36

    Richard Pope spews:

    SJ @ 34

    You may have intended this as sarcasm, but it is an extremely valid criticism of the R-71 legislation. If the objective was to provide equal rights for gay couples, why pass discriminatory legislation instead?

    Is there any valid reason whatsoever why straight couples under 62 should be denied the right to enter into domestic partnerships?

    If not, then the only principled vote on R-71 is REJECTED. The legislature can always come back later, and pass a bill that allows all adults, regardless of age or sexual orientation, to enter into domestic partnerships.

    People who support APPROVED on R-71 will argue that gay people can’t get married. However, the R-71 legislation does absolutely nothing to remedy that injustice.

  28. 37

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @31 All I’m saying is feral animals don’t consult law books before they start fucking. Take dogs, for example. Hell, dogs don’t even consult species or gender before they start fucking … but then, dogs are stupid way beyond useless.

  29. 38

    SJ's sockpuppet spews:

    @36 RP

    I think a NO vote on R-71 would be politically self defeating.

    Vote yes and then someone should sue to have the law changed to comply with the constitution.

    The result .. we would be as civilized as France.

  30. 39

    humbly awaiting moderation, discipline, and deportation spews:

    Maybe Darryl could have killed it if he’d used his V(subscript)2 accelerator instead of his V(subscript)2 estimator.