An important question has been left unasked in all the hullabaloo surrounding the renegade WhoSigned.org.  Namely, if the anti-family, anti-child forces behind Referendum 71 fail to gather enough signatures to submit it to the Secretary of State, what happens to the names, addresses and e-mails of people who signed the petition (the petition asks for e-mails even though they’re not legally required)?

By law, referendum backers can do whatever they want with them.  Including sell them.

Gary Randall is on record admitting that data from failed petitions go right into the Faith & Freedom Network’s database and are later swapped with other organizations or used in-house for fundraising and other solicitations.  Such lists are so valuable to a foundering organization like his that in 2006 he and then-ally Pastor Joe Fuiten got into a public hissy fit* with Tim Eyman over the control of petitions from their failed effort to repeal the gay civil rights law via Referendum 65.

* Gary deleted the pertinent Faith & Freedom blog post after I discussed it here.The Spokesman-Review asked the right questions back in 2006:

Ever wonder what happens to your name and address on a petition that never gets turned in?

Anything the sponsors want, according to state law.

That’s apparently why the two different camps behind Referendum 65, a ballot proposal that failed last week to gather enough signatures, are fighting over access to some 100,000 names and addresses on the petitions they didn’t turn in. Longtime initiative maestro Tim Eyman has the petitions and said he won’t give them to the Faith and Freedom Network, an umbrella group of religious organizations that helped gather the lion’s share of the names.

Each is accusing the other of bad faith. Each is claiming to be looking out for the best interests of signers…

Gary wasn’t looking out for his own best business interests, perchance?  Just think how valuable those name$ would have been as this Oregonian continued on his cruisade to manipulate Washington voters.  It seems that Tim Eyman was on to Gary Randall’s game.

“We’re not going to be intimidated or blackmailed [by Randall and Fuiten] into allowing these citizens who signed these petitions to have their names and addresses used … to do anything other than seeking a public vote on HB 2661,” Eyman said in an e-mail to his supporters around the state. “These voters did not sign R-65 petitions to be solicited by faith-based groups like Faith & Freedom.”

Interestingly, Randall was forthcoming at the time about his plans.  I wonder if he would be so chatty today, now that we all know how self-serving and deceptive he can be.

Gary Randall, president of Faith & Freedom, said Thursday the religious network had hoped to develop a mailing list for future efforts to overturn the law. If a new referendum or initiative campaign is launched, they’d probably mail a copy of that petition to the people who signed Referendum 65, asking them to sign the new proposal and have their friends sign it, too.

The network would have shared the list with other church groups who helped during this year’s signature drive. “But we don’t sell or lease out mailing lists,” Randall said. He knows some initiative groups do that, but “we never have.”

The signers of Referendum 65 might also be asked for a contribution to support such an effort, although “that was not the primary reason for wanting” the petitions, he added.

Of course fundraising isn’t the primary reason for floating the petitions of an unpopular referendum too late to collect enough signatures to qualify.  Of course.

Several organizations besides Gary Randall’s are involved in promoting the referendum and distributing the petitions. They include Washington Values Alliance and Protect Marriage Washington (both run by Larry Stickney); Washington Eagle Forum; the Focus on the Family affiliate Family Policy Institute of Washington; Constitution Party of Washington State; Youth With a Mission / USRenewal; Knights of Columbus; Christian Coalition; Antioch Bible Church.  Will petition signers’ data be shared among all these organizations?  Even if we could get a promise from Gary Randall that he won’t sell his copy of the list (he hasn’t been asked for that promise regarding this referendum, to my knowledge), he cannot guarantee that one or more of these other organizations won’t.  There are many fingers in this petition pie.  Which of them are sticky?

Petition signers be aware.


Join Washington Families Standing Together in their fight to defeat Referendum 71 by clicking on the graphics below.



Cross-posted at Washblog.