We invite you to join us on Friday, February 16th, 2018 to celebrate our 2017 victories (including the defeats of Eyman’s I-1550, Eyman’s I-947, and I-1552) and learn about our plans to ensure we maintain the strongest possible defense against future threats to our Constitution and common wealth.
Backers of I-1552 have run out of time to gather signatures for their discriminatory initiative to roll back protections for transgender individuals in Washington, and they’re nowhere near making the ballot — at least not according to their publicly posted numbers.
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 an effort to activate their sleepy base, they’ve announced a $50,000 contribution from a mystery donor and tried their hardest to make it sound like the campaign is on the verge of qualifying, needing only an extra push to get over the finish line.
What does a county-level initiative that would ban safe injection sites have to do with a statewide initiative that would roll back transgender rights? Answer: It serves as a nice lead-in for out-of-state petitioners who have been given the sheets for both.
Yesterday, NPI leadership documented right wing petitioners in action, photographing a crew camped out in front of a QFC in Renton.
Petitioners were seen approaching voters to sign I-27 (the county-level measure) first– and then going for a second score by flipping their boards to present petitions for I-1552, the statewide initiative that would wrongly prohibit transgender individuals from using washrooms designated for the gender they identify as.
Because petitioners in Washington State are paid by the signature, they have a strong incentive to lead with whatever they’ve got that people are most receptive to. Banning safe injection sites (which don’t yet exist) is proving to be an easier sell in King County than forcing a public vote on the rights of transgender individuals.
Management of the Kroger-owned QFC where the petitioners were operating wasn’t pleased about the signature gathering activity taking place at their store entrance, and placed a freestanding sign right outside the doors informing patrons the petitioners were operating without the company’s blessing.
The sign read:
To Our Customers:
Petitioners are on QFC property without our permission.
QFC is not associated with this petitioning activity.
We apologize for any inconvenience this activity may cause.
The campaign to qualify I-27 to the King County ballot in November is being spearheaded by Bothell City Councilmember Joshua Freed, who says he’s quite pleased with signature gathering efforts so far.
Freed failed to mention that his group is benefiting from the services of out-of-state signature gatherers, who have been deployed around King County with I-27 petitions. (One of the petitioners in front of the Renton QFC admitted to NPI leadership when asked that he isn’t a King County resident and is here to make a few quick bucks petitioning.)
The I-1552 campaign started back in the winter, but has struggled to catch fire. Backers are running out of time. Their submission deadline is early in July, as opposed to the end of the month, and their petitions need to contain at least 330,000 signatures or the measure will be at risk of failing a signature check. The campaign announced yesterday it had surpassed 100,000 signatures, but that’s less than a third of what they need.
The existence of the I-27 campaign is rather convenient for the struggling I-1552 campaign, because petitioners for hire haven’t got much of an incentive to come to King County just to carry I-1552 sheets. (A high number of voters in King County support LGBT rights, making refusals or lack of interest a barrier to getting signatures for I-1552.)
But by piggybacking on the I-27 effort, the I-1552 campaign can partly work around this problem. Since petitioners from out of state are already in King County to work I-27, the I-1552 campaign is making sure their paper is made available to those petitioners.
Considering how poorly their drive has gone so far, however, it could be futile. I-27 may well qualify for the November ballot in King County, but I-1552 is floundering, and won’t make the statewide ballot short of a last ditch signature gathering bonanza.
A theoconservative effort to qualify an initiative that would roll back transgender rights in Washington appears to be going nowhere, although its backers have yet to concede defeat.
With less than a month to go until this year’s signature gathering deadline arrives, proponents of I-1552 have issued a fresh plea for donations and volunteers in which they tacitly acknowledge that they’re not getting the support they had hoped for. I-1552 is a do-over of I-1515, which failed to make last year’s ballot.
What comes to your mind when you hear the number “23?” The greatest basketball player who ever lived? The number of chromosomes each human receives from each parent? The beloved Psalm in the Bible?
Here at JWP headquarters, 23 means one thing and one thing only – the number of days remaining to qualify I-1552 for the November ballot. That’s not much time at all.
Are we going to make it? Please take a few moments to watch Joseph’s video update to find out. If you do, you’ll learn that we have over 92,000 signatures in hand already and that we received over 170,000 signatures during the final two weeks of last year’s campaign. This is good news.
Good news, perhaps, for the opposition, but not for the I-1552 campaign. To qualify for the ballot, they must submit around 330,000 signatures. That’s the minimum they need. If they’ve truthfully reported what they have in hand, then they’re in bad shape. They only have a third of what they need with only a few weeks to go… and the clock is ticking.
I-1552 backers are counting on there being a sudden surge of activity at the end of their drive to propel them to the ballot.
But even if they get their wish, it’s unlikely to be enough, because they’re entering into the home stretch of the signature gathering season in such a weak position.
It appears the “Signature Sunday” event didn’t yield very many signatures.
By the campaign’s admission, around 42,000 signatures have been added to the tally since the 19th. That’s an average of around 2,211 signatures a day. If the campaign continued to gather signatures at the same pace, it would wind up with around 50,853 more signatures than it has now — which is less than half of what is needed.
Even if the campaign was able to collect 170,000 signatures during the final two weeks of this year’s drive — something it claimed it did last year — that still wouldn’t be enough to qualify. 92,000 + 170,000 = 262,000, and the campaign needs to submit at least 330,000 or it’s at risk of failing a signature check.
The I-1552 campaign has expended some funds to hire signature gatherers, but has said it is counting on volunteers to deliver most of what’s needed (200,000 of 330,000 signatures). It doesn’t appear that either the paid drive or the unpaid drive are going very well. And that’s great news for Washington. Hate has no place on our ballot. Our transgender population is not a public safety threat. In fact, transgender individuals are more likely to be the victims of harassment or assault than the typical person.
The demise of I-1552 would not guarantee that transgender rights are safe from being overturned. But it’s hard to see a third effort succeeding next year when two previous efforts failed. If anything, grassroots support for the cause may wane further due to the collapse of I-1515 and I-1552 and the shifting political landscape.
With the deadline to qualify initiatives to the 2017 ballot fast approaching, sketchy petitioners hired by right wing campaigns to gather signatures are once again resorting to hardball tactics in public places in order to make a few quick bucks.
Last week, marathoner Kelly Herron’s morning run turned into a nightmare when she was assaulted in Golden Gardens Park. As she recounted on Instagram:
Four miles into my long run Sunday afternoon, I stopped to use the restroom and was assaulted by a man hiding in a stall. I fought for my life […] clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip- never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defense class offered at my work and utilized all of it. My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact.
After local media outlets picked up Kelly’s story, the fanatics trying to qualify Initiative 1552 to the ballot took notice and figured they could exploit what happened to Kelly to prey on the fears of gullible Washingtonians.
They sent out an email titled “Bathroom attack in Seattle” exhorting people to donate money and collect signatures to qualify I-1552 to the ballot. I-1552, a do-over of last year’s failed I-1515, would repeal rules passed by the Human Rights Commission that empower transgender individuals to use public washrooms and toilets consistent with their gender identity. It’s an awful, discriminatory measure that is opposed by a broad and diverse coalition of businesses, nonprofits, civic organizations, and individuals.
When Kelly found out that I-1552 communications director Kaeley Triller Haver and her associates were using her story in an attempt to bolster their campaign, she was incensed, and is now demanding that they cease doing so and refund any contributions they received from their “Bathroom attack in Seattle” appeal. Kelly writes:
Last week I successfully defended myself against a violent sexual assault in a public restroom at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle […] But I’m more upset now than I have been all week after seeing that a political group is using my face, my name and my story to fundraise for I-1552, a ballot initiative that deliberately targets and harms transgender people – including friends whom I respect.
To the people behind I-1552, I say “not today, [expletive].” I refuse to allow anyone to use me and my horrific sexual assault to cause harm and discrimination to others.
All of us, including transgender people, are concerned about safety in restrooms or any place where we’re isolated and alone. But the fact is I-1552 would not have done one thing to prevent the attack on me. It’s already illegal to enter a restroom or locker room to harm someone, period.
I-1552’s backers say it is supposed to protect women and children from attack, but this initiative is an invitation for abuse and harassment because under this law men could demand to see a woman’s ID with her name and home address, or otherwise force her to prove her gender before allowing her to enter a public restroom.
I-1552’s backers use fear mongering to justify singling out one group, transgender people, for discrimination. I strongly oppose their efforts to repeal Washington State’s decade-old protections against discrimination for our transgender friends, family and co-workers. I demand they immediately refund any money raised using my image, my name, and my story, and I demand Just Want Privacy immediately issue a public retraction.
We salute Kelly for her tremendous courage — both in telling her story after being attacked and for publicly repudiating the I-1552 campaign after they used her story as the basis for fundraising pitches for their discriminatory initiative. If Kaeley Triller Haver and her associates have any respect for Kelly, they’ll accede to her demands — promptly.
Help defend transit: Sign up for NO on I-976 campaign updates
What we do
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.
Follow Permanent Defense on Facebook and Twitter for campaign and project updates.