Larry Stickney and Gary Randall are apparently concerned about the rejection rate of signatures on their anti-domestic partnership Referendum 71.  At about 11%, R-71′s cumulative to-date signature rejection rate is the lowest in recent memory, and is still well below the drop-dead rate of 12.4% that would keep the referendum off the ballot.  Further, if the 53% of signatures already checked are representative of those remaining to be checked, it is statistically nearly impossible for the referendum not to qualify for the November ballot.

So I have have to ask myself, what do Larry and Gary know about the remaining unchecked signatures that worries them so?  Whatever it is, it has moved them to take shocking action.  After impugning the integrity of the Secretary of State and his employees with “Please pray that Secretary Sam Reed and the public servants he employs, will have the integrity to carry out their duties on the R-71 count in a fair and honest way, as they are duty bound to serve all the citizens of the state.” they put out this “Call to Action”

PLEASE SEND THIS URGENT MESSAGE FAR AND WIDE! Tell everyone you know (especially those who signed R71) to let Sam Reed know that we want all of the signatures carefully checked.  He owes it to the people of Washington State.

Both phone calls and  e-mails to Sam Reed are needed NOW!:  (ph) [redacted] or e-mail [redacted]

Additionally, please leave your comments on the Secretary of State’s R-71 blog at: http://blogs.secstate.wa.gov/F…

Larry Stickney, Campaign Manager

Protect Marriage Washington

If Larry and Gary feel they have a legitimate complaint about the signature checking process, the appropriate avenue for protest is the courts.  They surely know this, as they’ve already brought two lawsuits during the referendum campaign.  The first was when Larry challenged in court the ballot language on his own referendum.  The second was when Larry wanted special rights to side-step Washington’s open government laws.  No, the anti-family forces are not shy about going to the courts, so why resort now to trying to impugn the reputation of the Secretary of State’s office and influence their official actions via the mob?

UPDATE: Marching orders received!  Check out the spate of n’er before seen requests for slow action on the Secretary of State’s blog, below the fold.

UPDATE 2: The Secretary of State’s Elections Division responds.  See text below the fold.Gary Randall’s troops do as he requests:

Karen says:

August 19, 2009 at 9:14 AM

I realize that it is the goal to finish reviewing the signatures on Ref 71 by the end of August. Please continue to give each signature the needed time to be reviewed so that the final outcome is the true voice of those who signed.

Greg MacPherson says:

August 19, 2009 at 9:23 AM

Sir:

As a recent transplant to Washington State, I have been appalled at the lack of concern exhibited by elected officials regarding the integrity of the political process. Questionable outcomes, such as the result of the recent gubernatorial elections, would suggest that the very process itself has become a target for forces desiring to corrupt and control the outcome of the democratic process.

With respect to the recently submitted R-71 petitions, it is acknowledged by both sides that the core issue, whether homosexuality will be permitted to be ‘mainstreamed’ in American society, is contentious. For that reason alone, prudence suggests that the utmost care should be taken by your office, and by any elected officials, to ensure that no suggestion of impropriety shall overshadow the process of moving from a citizen initiative to a ballet initiative. Such suspicions are rampant in the current political climate, and they serve only to further anger and divide an already polarized electorate. For that reason alone, I strongly urge your office to slowly and carefully check each and every signature submitted for the R-71 initiative, and to dismiss and any all external pressure for that process to be accelerated. The integrity of the process, and the subsequent immunity of your office from criticism, are of much greater import than any insubstantial fears of potential legal challenges.

I thank you for your service, and trust that you will act to ensure that the accuracy of the final petition signature count will be unimpeachable and free from error and criticism.

Mary Hubbard says:

August 19, 2009 at 9:36 AM

Please Please Please do not rush the verification process on the signatures for R-71. It doesn’t matter which side of the issue you are on, as an American living in our wondeful land of government by the people and for the people, we should all want the due process to be completed in the fairest most accurate way possible. Pressure from either side of the issue to “hurry” things along should be disregarded. Accuracey is the most important and fairest way to verify the signatures.

Shane Rossen says:

August 19, 2009 at 10:21 AM

Dear Mr. Sam Reed as a voter I strongly request that you and you signature checkers slow down and check the signatures accurate.

A slow speed maintains the quality of the process and gives a truer reflection of the will of the people..

You owe it to the voters and citizens of the state of WA and the future of America…

Sincerely

Shane Rossen

Mike C. says:

August 19, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Dear Mr. Reed,

This is an extremely important and polarized Referendum. Already there are allegations of impropriety swirling about. Speeding up the verification process will only add to the potential for legal challenges. The people of Washington-not out of state lobbyists-should be your first concern. The people of Washington deserve better from their elected officials and they are watching this carefully, even if the local media has better things to report on. Sir, you have a solemn duty to ensure that all R-71 signatures are carefully checked. Please slow down and do this right!

Robert Struble says:

August 19, 2009 at 10:47 AM

Dear Sam Reed,

The democratic process is worth time and effort. Please countermand the transition to a hasty mode of counting.

Otherwise, the sudden increase in the invalidation rate will rank with the 2004 gubernatorial election, when ballots were conveniently discovered to change the result.

Let the watchword be – no playing fast and loose with democracy!

Amber says:

August 19, 2009 at 11:08 AM

Please do not rush the verification process on signatures for R-71, Haist makes waist. Those counting maybe making undeserved, unintended mistakes in both directions lets make this count as accurate as possible.

Jon says:

August 19, 2009 at 11:43 AM

I note there seems to be a “standard complaint format” on here now by many people “urging things to slow down”. Again – they are a state agency following state agency rules and laws – thus everything will be as accurate as is required by law. Things are and obviously will always be “by the book” no more, no less. There are checkers of the checkers who are volunteers from both sides to ensure things are good for them if you have read past blogs on here with what’s going on.

The Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office has responded to Randall & Stickney’s allegations:

Sponsors of Referendum 71, the effort to overturn Washington’s new “everything but marriage” domestic partnership law, are accusing the state Elections Division of rushing the signature-verification process and being biased against their effort.  Election officials at the Secretary of State’s office are pushing back, strongly defending their crew of signature-checkers as conducting the process with great care and diligence, not rushing through – and certainly not showing bias one way or the other about the legislation in question.

Gary Randall of the Faith and Freedom Network, part of the campaign group called Protect Marriage Washington, made its allegations in an e-mailed “state wide call to action and prayer,” saying the “homosexual lobby” had pressured the Secretary to accelerate the signature check. That had the effect of boosting the group’s error rate due to “carelessness and/or sympathy for the other side,” he wrote. The group flooded the Secretary’s offices with hundreds of phone calls, emails and blog comments.

Secretary Reed declined comment, but stood by a response from the Elections Division that said the criticism was ill-founded:

Regarding speed

   •    The Secretary’s office did not make a decision to speed up the process.

   •    In fact, the Secretary’s office added an additional check to search for signatures from recent registrations.  This check adds time to the process.

   •    Signature checkers  have not been directed to spend less time looking for matching signatures.

   •    Signature checkers continue to follow established search methods and be thorough when researching each signature on a petition sheet.

   •    Signature checkers will continue to use the same methods they’ve used throughout the process.

Regarding deadlines and potential lawsuits

   •    We have a deadline to meet for printing the ballots.  However, there is ample time to meet this deadline AND conduct a fair and thorough verification process.

   •    We are aware of the potential for lawsuits – from both sides – but, the threat of lawsuits is not a factor in decisions made about managing the pace of the verification process.

Regarding the increase in the invalid rate as being an indicator that we are not being careful

   •    Since beginning the verification process, our office has told the public and Ref. 71 sponsors that the invalid rate will increase throughout the process and that duplicate signatures are the most significant factor in this increase.

   •    This trend is mathematically provable and has occurred with every ballot measure our office has verified in the last 20 years, it is not unique to Ref. 71.

   •    The invalid rate is increasing as a result of finding more duplicate signatures, not because we are carelessly rejecting signatures.

   •    Here is brief explanation about duplicates, taken from the FAQs we posted to our website days ago.  We also gave copies of this FAQ to observers from both sides:

Question:  How do duplicates factor into the process?

Response:  Duplicates are probably the single most significant factor in a close signature check such as Referendum 71.

Once a representative sample of signatures has been checked, trends become established for the number of signers who are not registered or the number of signers whose signatures do not match.  Once established, it would be unusual for these trends to change.

That is not the case with duplicates.  When only 1,000 signatures have been checked, the next signature checked is compared against that pool of 1,000 signatures already checked.  The likelihood of finding a duplicate in a pool of 1,000 signatures is relative low.

But, when 130,000 signatures have been checked, the likelihood of finding a duplicate signature in the much larger pool logarithmically increases.

Thus, as the pool of signatures checked increases, the likelihood of finding duplicates increases.

The result of this dynamic with duplicates is that the rejection rate that appears established early in the check is always expected to increase as the signature check progresses.”

Referendum 71 voters will be asked to approve or reject the domestic partnership law.


REFERENDUM 71

Ballot Title


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.

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