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Washington Judge to Hear Referendum 71 Challenge Today

A lawsuit challenging Referendum 71 in Washington state which was dismissed by a King County judge last week and referred to a court in Thurston County, will be heard today. Referendum 71 would place the state's "everything but marriage law" before voters.

Here's the issue: R71

"Washington Families Standing Together, defending the new domestic partnership law, is asking the Thurston County Superior Court to keep R-71 off the ballot for several reasons. The reason most likely to get legal traction is a claim that Protect Marriage Washington – the anti-benefits people – allowed citizens who weren’t registered voters to sign the petitions. When petition-gatherers ran into would-be signers who weren’t registered, they had them fill out a registration card on the spot; the card was then sent to the local county auditor. State code says that only registered voters can sign. The legal question is, can citizens be considered registered when they complete the card? Or must they first be duly, officially and formally registered by county elections officers?"

In the past, says the Secretary of State's spokesman David Ammons, the Secretary has allowed a "liberal reading" of the guidelines in order to get more voters on the state's rolls: “The secretary’s view is that we’re supportive of the initiative and referendum process, and we like anything that encourages people to sign up and register. If this is what prompts them, that’s a good thing.”

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  1. I would think the more serious charge would be the signing of petitions with a rubber stamp. As I understand it the law says that each petition has to be signed by the person who circulated it who also must be a registered voter. The fact that this criteria was not met sounds like election fraud to me.

    Posted by: Charlie | Sep 8, 2009 11:50:47 AM

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