Defects found on I-1552 petitions; could be the death knell for this year’s anti-transgender initiative

Ballot WatchdoggingThreat Analysis

Serious, potentially fatal defects have been uncovered on a sampling of petitions printed for I-1552, this year’s right wing attempt to roll back transgender rights, which means the measure could be doomed regardless of how well its signature drive goes in its final days.

In a letter to Secretary of State Kim Wyman, the coalition responsible for fighting I-1552, Washington Won’t Discriminate (which includes NPI’s Permanent Defense) explains:

We are writing to inform you that we have learned that petitions distributed by proponents of I-1552 contain multiple violations of Washington’s constitutional and statutory requirements.

These errors on the petition sheets include, but are not limited to:

  1. misrepresenting the court-established ballot title for I-1552 ;
  2. incorrectly presenting the court-established ballot measure summary; and
  3. f ailing to include the full text of the measure on the reverse side of petition sheets.

Because the Washington Constitution requires the full text of a measure to appear on all petition sheets, we would expect the Secretary of State will not accept any petitions for I-1552 that fail to comply with this constitutional requirement. In addition, we would expect that the Secretary of State will not accept petitions that misrepresent the ballot title and/or the ballot measure summary of I-1552 . These requirements are important measures to prevent fraud and mistake in the gathering of signatures in support of initiatives and should be applied scrupulously.

These may sound like pretty fundamental errors, but considering what else we’ve heard about the Yes on I-1552 effort, it’s not surprising. It fits with the pattern we’ve seen. This is a sloppily run campaign that has been plodding along for most of the year and is now scrambling because the signature deadline is fast approaching.

I-1552 backers have struggled to raise money and have mismanaged their signature drive. Now they have an even bigger problem on their hands.

We may never know if those petitions would have been rejected, though, because it’s quite possible I-1552’s backers won’t ever turn them in to be validated. They were a no-show last year when they realized I-1515 would not have enough signatures to qualify.

As of Wednesday, June 21st, the I-1552 campaign claimed it had 141,500 signatures. That’s less than half of what it needs, and time is quickly running out. The drop-dead date to submit signatures is two weeks from today.

In our last I-1552 threat analysis, we calculated that backers of I-1552 would need to collect an average of 8,215 signatures a day. Going by the numbers they’ve provided (which may not be truthful), their actual average daily intake for mid-June has only been around 2,964 signatures.

If signatures continue to come in at around the current rate, they’ll wind up with about 200,000 signatures — 130,000 short of what they need.

If they were to double their average daily intake starting today, that would get them closer — but still not close enough to qualify. They need to almost triple their current average intake in order to make it.

That’s a tall order. Considering their track record and the potentially fatal defects that could cause I-1552 petitions to be rejected were they to be submitted, advocates of equality have reason to feel hopeful that I-1552 will soon be dead.

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Permanent Defense works to protect Washington by building a first line of defense against threats to the common wealth and Constitution of the Evergreen State — like Tim Eyman's initiative factory. Learn more.

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