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UPDATE: R-71 headed to November statewide ballot

by David Ammons | August 31st, 2009

Unofficial and incomplete figures from the state Elections Division shows Referendum 71 with sufficient signatures to make the Nov. 3 General Election ballot in Washington.  It could be the narrowest margin ever for qualifying for the ballot.

Sponsors,  a campaign group called Protect Marriage Washington, submitted nearly 138,00o signatures on July 25, needing 120,577 to secure a ballot spot.  As of Monday evening, after all signatures were checked, state checkers accepted 121,617 signatures  — a pad of 1,040 signatures.New Image1

That number could rise a  bit as the final checks are done to see if some initially rejected signatures of people not found on the voter database will turn up on a fresher version.

Sponsors hope to overturn Senate Bill 5688, which passed the Legislature in April, expanding the state rights and responsibilities of state-registered domestic partners.  Voters will have the choice of affirming the legislation or rejecting it.

The checkers have rejected 16,264 signatures, but some may be moved over to the accepted pile after new voter registrations are located and after county election offices supply missing electronic voter signatures.  The rejected signatures include 12,710 not found on the voter database, 66 awaiting an electronic signature from their home county, 1,395 where the signature doesn’t match the one on file, and 2,093 duplicate signatures.

Overall, the error rate is running 11.8 percent, somewhat lower than the maximum 12.4 percent the sponsors could withstand.  Historically, the average error rate has been 18.5 percent during the past 20 years.

The update came as challengers went to court in King County to try to block the measure from the ballot.  Superior Court Judge Julie Spector took the case under advisement and said she will rule on Wednesday morning.

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