Our former colleague over at the state election HQ, Dave Ammons, sends us a heads-up about the status of Referendum 71. The folks who are trying to force a vote on the expansion of gay rights in Washington (in the hope voters will overturn what the Democratic majority in the Legislature and Gov. Chris Gregoire did this past spring) say they want to turn in their signatures on Saturday afternoon.
As Ammons notes, we don’t know yet whether they have enough to win a spot on the ballot. Saturday is the deadline for collecting 120,000-plus valid signatures.
FYI: Sponsors of Referendum 71, the challenge to the "everything but marriage" domestic partnership bill, SB5688, have requested an appointment for 2 p.m. Saturday to bring in their petitions. They did not mention how many signatures they have in hand as of now, or how many they expect to bring in. To secure a ballot spot will require 120,577 valid voter signatures (4 percent of last year’s vote for governor). Election officials suggest referendum sponsors also submit a 25 percent pad to offset any invalid signatures – or about 150,000 total.
If the referendum is indeed submitted, the new law will not go into effect on Sunday, as it normally would. If R-71 goes onto the ballot, the law will be on hold until the vote is held Nov. 3. If it passes, the law would take effect after the vote is certified in December. If the law is rejected, it will not go into effect. If the referendum does not qualify for the ballot, the law would take effect immediately.
The Secretary of State will open the main office in the Capitol for the turn-in. Petitions would be "imaged" next week and then the signatures checked.
Our initiatives desk says no other campaigns have requested an appointment to bring in signatures.
Office of Secretary of State