Referendum signers' names have to be public -- Duh!
Posted by Joni Balter
Three fairly boisterous cheers for U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle of Tacoma who ruled, sensibly, that people who signed Referendum 71 will have their names made public.
In a state where transparency is a supreme public value, and in a state that grows a lot of nutty citizen initiatives, this is a no-brainer.
Why should someone who doesn't want his or her name revealed be involved in public policy? What if lawmakers tried to do that?
The idea that an individual could sign a petition and then have his or her name kept secret is outrageous. If you sign a piece of paper supporting an initiative or referendum, go for it, but don't do something you are afraid or ashamed of.
The argument by backers of Referendum 71, who wanted to undo Washington's entirely reasonable domestic partnership law, was always specious. Someone might get mad at them. Really? Then deal with that. Call the cops.
But signing petitions in secret, when you don't have the courage of your beliefs to stand by that signature, is the epitome of lame.
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