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New number (R-74), same challenge (of gay-marriage law)

by David Ammons | February 14th, 2012

Referendum 74 is the new number for Washington’s gay marriage challenge filed by opponents of the new marriage law signed by the governor on Monday.  It turns out that R-73 was assigned last spring to a campaign challenging last year’s medical marijuana law; nothing came of that effort.

The marriage referendum has been transmitted to the state Attorney General’s Office for preparation of a ballot title, 30-word concise description, a 75-word-limit ballot summary, and a question that clearly defines the intent of the voter. The attorneys will have five days to produce these.  After that, anyone dissatisfied with the ballot title/summary has five days to seek review by the Thurston County Superior Court, which is required to “expeditiously” handle the challenge(s) and render a decision within five days.  The decision of the court is final.

It’s likely to be early March before R-74 sponsors can print and circulate petitions.  Their deadline for turning in at least 120,577 valid signatures is June 6. That is one day before the new law, SB6239, ordinarily would have taken effect.  The submission of signatures suspends the law from taking effect until after signature verification and, if qualified with enough valid signatures, until the election is conducted this fall and certified by Dec. 6.

The text of R-74 will be the text of the law.

If it makes the ballot, voters will decide whether to affirm or reject the new law.

6 Responses to “New number (R-74), same challenge (of gay-marriage law)”

  1. What steps will you take to verifity that the information on the R-74 petitions has not been copied from the R-71 petitions?

  2. Rodney Chipman says:

    This info was not copied from petition R-71.

  3. Keith Ciancio says:

    This is a waste of tax payer money. The federal 9th District Court of Appeals has already ruled that California’s Prop.8 was unconstitutional, and R-74 is likely to end the same way. I do not agree with homosexuality, but we do have a equal protection clause and a full faith and credit clause to the Constitution that says that 1) all people are protected under the same laws, i.e. the 9th Circuit’s ruling, and 2) what is ruled legally binding in one state is legally binding in all states, i.e. a gay couple married in Massachusetts that subsequently moves to Washington cannot have their marriage disolved without a due process of law thereby making RCW 26.04.020(3) as related to RCW 26.04.020(1)(c) unconstitutional.

    Again, I am necessarily for gay marriage, but I am for playing by the rules–that trumps all, and it’s good enough for me. Now, let’s get over this and get on with more pressing matters like the economy, bringing jobs back to Washington, and bolstering education.

  4. The “information” I’m concerned about is the signatures. The R-71 petition images are available. A resourceful criminal could copy the information AND SIGNATURES from the R-71 images onto R-74 petition sheets. Saves a lot of time and effort – no need to sit in parking lots and persuade people to sign papers – just do it for them. How will the SOS detect that this has happened, invalidiate fraudulent petitions, and prosecute offenders who try to do this?

  5. My question was not about whether the text of R-71 relates to R-74. My question is about the possibility of an unscrupulous person or group fraudulently filling out R-74 petitions by copying the information, and signatures, from the R-71 petition images already available. How will the SOS office prevent / detect / prosecute such fraud?

  6. In response to George’s question about fraudulent signatures for R-74, the R-74 petitions bill be different from the R-71 petitions. Each petition has to list the correct referendum number, ballot title for that referendum written by the AG’s Office, and the full text of the measure. The legislation for R-71 is distinctly different from the legislation for R-74.

    Each petition sheet is examined for similar handwriting throughout the sheet or in a pattern. Petitions that have a pattern of similar handwriting are turned over to the Washington State Patrol for investigation of forgery. This has occurred in past initiative and referendum filings.

    Some initiative and referendum petitions go through a full signature check and some go through a random sample signature check. The amount of signatures submitted to our office determines which process is used. For each name that is checked, our office first determines if the person is registered to vote. If the person is registered to vote, then the signature on the petition is matched against the signature on the voter registration file to confirm that the person who is registered is the person who signed the petition. – Brian Zylstra, Deputy Comm. Director, Office of Secretary of State

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