Donors to Washington’s Anti-Gay Referendum 71 to Be Made Public

Protect Marriage Washington, the group behind Referendum 71, which seeks to repeal the state's "everything but marriage" law, has failed in an attempt to keep private the names of donors who gave in support of the anti-gay measure:

R71 "The group had asked the state to redact and seal the names,
addresses and occupations of donors, citing threats of violence against
supporters and churches. Donors' information had already been made
public, in accordance with state law. The commission said Protect Marriage Washington had not proved that
disclosure of donors' names would result in 'manifestly unreasonable
hardship' to contributors. While Protect Marriage Washington did provide the commission with
some threatening e-mails and blog postings, it 'provided no evidence
from or about donors that have demonstrated that they have received
threats of violence against their lives or property,' or that they were
being targeted for boycotts, PDC assistant director Doug Ellis said
during the hearing. Moreover, the commission decided, removing the names would thwart
the purpose of the public disclosure law: To avoid secrecy in campaigns."

Signatures In related news, Washington Families Standing Together, a group opposing the repeal effort, has filed suit attempting to block certification of the measure, saying the Secretary of State failed to comply with the law:

"Signature gatherers are supposed to sign declarations saying that signatures they've collected are valid to the best of their knowledge and that they personally circulated the petition, the lawsuit says. '…it became apparent that the Secretary, relying on advice from the Attorney General, was ignoring the requirement directed by the Legislature that the anti-fraud declaration be signed by each signature gatherer,' according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs in the case also say the secretary of state was ignoring requirements that say only registered voters can sign petitions. The lawsuit says that on Aug. 17 Secretary of State Sam Reed told his staff to ignore the date in voter files as the voter registration date and accept signatures from people who were not cleared to vote when they signed."

Hearings are scheduled for next week.

The Seattle PI reports: "As of Wednesday afternoon, signature checkers had reviewed 117,069
signatures – 103,198 have been approved and 13,871 have been rejected.
The signature error rate currently is 11.85 percent. Based on the
number of signatures they turned in, the error rate can't go over 12.4
percent for the measure to qualify for the November election."