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Thurston judge clears way for Nov. 3 vote


September 10, 2009

FYI: Thurston County Superior Court has given the green-light to a public vote on Referendum 71, rejecting efforts by supporters of the new “everything but marriage” law to block the measure going to the statewide ballot. The challengers still are trying to review some of the decisions made by signature-checkers, and have the option of an 11th-hour trip to the state Supreme Court.

For days, the Secretary of State has made it clear that state and county election officials need to know by Thursday whether R-71 is on the ballot or not. The state faces a deadline in preparing the constitutionally-required state Voters’ Pamphlet and must let counties know whether to print ballots with R-71 included.

The judge fully concurred with the state Elections Division’s handling of the referendum process. Secretary Reed and state Elections Director Nick Handy said they were gratified to get a strong opinion upholding the state’s signature check policies. Although not taking sides in the R-71 issue itself, they said they were persuaded that a fair and even-handed check of the 137,000 signatures submitted by sponsors showed that there were more than the minimum 120,577 valid Washington voter signatures turned in.

“It’s time to move on and prepare for the election,” Handy said. “We appreciate the court’s support on all of the legal issues, and now it’s time to move on.”


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