Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Local News


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Go to the politics section for more local and national politics coverage.

Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

October 14, 2009 at 5:28 PM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Decision pending on release of names on ballot petitions

Posted by Lornet Turnbull

The dicey question over whether the Secretary of State can release the names and addresses of those who signed petitions to get Referendum 71 on the November ballot is now in the hands of the three-member panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ref 71 will ask voters on Nov. 3 to either approve or reject the state's latest expansion of the domestic partnership law, which grants marriage-like benefits to registered gay and some senior couples.

Attorneys for protect Marriage Washington, which gathered enough signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot, told the three-judge panel that petition signatures are protected free speech under the First Amendment and as such should be shielded from public release.

A federal court in Tacoma earlier had sided with them, temporarily blocking release of the names.

Washington's Attorney General's Office, which represented the Secretary of State before the judges, argued that voters approved the Public Records Act and that petitions are a very public process, dealing directly with legislation, and are not akin to the private act of voting. They said the public strongly supports transparency in government and expects the release of public records.

Several activists have said they would post the names and addresses on searchable Web sites as soon as they become publicly available.

The judges took the question under advisement without indicating when - or how - they will rule, although state election officials expect a ruling quickly, maybe even later today.

In the meantime, a Thurston County Superior Court today granted a request by initiative promoter Tim Eyman, temporarily blocking the state from releasing names and addresses on 11 initiative petitions, most of them proposed by Eyman. The decision came in response to a lawsuit Eyman filed.

Judge Richard Hicks said he wants to preserve the status quo while awaiting the ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court.

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Comments
No comments have been posted to this article.

Recent entries

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Browse the archives

October 2009

September 2009

August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

Contributors

Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

Keith Ervin
Covers the Eastside.

Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Covers local government.

Mike Lindblom
Covers transportation.

Kyung Song
Covers politics and regional issues from Washington, D.C.

Lynn Thompson
Covers Seattle City Hall.

Bob Young
Covers King County and urban affairs.