Just in: The dizzying judicial tennis match over disclosure of petition signatures for Referendum 71 continues with a hard backhand return by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Ninth today declared Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed can and should release the signatures promptly pending further consideration of appeals.
The Ninth overturned a U.S. District Court ruling Sept. 10 ordering the signatures withheld pending resolution of the legal fight.
Here’s the Washington Policy Center’s alert on the latest ruling.
I have mixed feelings on this one. I think voters regard signing initiative petitions as a form of voting and expect that their signatures will be kept private and not used for commercial or political purposes.
The signature records should be open. But to guard against a backlash, Reed or the Legislature should take steps to keep the lists from being misused.
I’m a board member of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, which contends referendum and initiative signatures should be public record.