LGBT(WA): When will the names for the people who signed Referendum 71 be released?
- E_TardLv 61 decade agoFavorite Answer
My understanding is that witnesses from both sides of the referendum are sitting in the room while the names of the people who signed are being authenticated. There are so few "spare" signatures, that each name is being validated prior to it being tallied.
Here's what's been filed in Referendum 71 case
Posted at 10:31 am by Jerry Cornfield
Attached are documents filed in federal court ahead of today's hearing on whether names of those who signed Referendum 71 should be made public.
There seem to be two general points.
First, there is a constitutional right under the First Amendment to participate anonymously in politics.
From the complaint:
The public release of a referendum petition containing the names and addresses of over 138,500 Washington residents pursuant to Washington’s Public Records Act threatens to undermine the First Amendment’s goal of encouraging “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open” debate, New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 270 (1964). By publicly disseminating the names of individuals signing a referendum petition, individuals and organizations hope to make it personally, economically, and politically unpopular to advocate a position that would seek to preserve the sanctity of marriage, as traditionally defined as between one man and one woman.
If that point is rejected, the attorneys for Protect marriage Washington argue the state's public records act should be found unconstitutional for not protecting the rights of individuals who fear retaliation for participating because their identities could be found out.
More from the complaint:
In the alternative, Plaintiffs complain that, if the State possesses a compelling state
interest, the Public Records Act is unconstitutional because there is a reasonable probability of threats, harassment, and reprisals if the names and addresses of the petition signers are publicly released.
An interesting point I read - each side can have observers in the room while signatures are validated. However, according to the filing, they can't take any notes like names and addresses.
But, apparently, if you've already got the list on your blackberry you won't be stopped looking up the info.