The right-wing Christians who are trying to get Referendum 71 on the ballot, in an attempt to repeal the "everything but marriage" bill, are upset that the error rate of signatures is climbing. Last week it was around 10.5 percent and, as of today, it's up to 11.67 percent. If the error rate exceeds 12.43 percent, R-71 won't make the November ballot. So the referendum backers are blaming election workers, says Secretary of State's Office office spokesman David Ammons:
Gary Randall of the Faith and Freedom Network, part of the campaign group called Protect Marriage Washington, made its allegations in an e-mailed “state wide call to action and prayer,” saying the “homosexual lobby” had pressured the Secretary to accelerate the signature check. That had the effect of boosting the group’s error rate due to “carelessness and/or sympathy for the other side,” he wrote. The group flooded the Secretary’s offices with hundreds of phone calls, emails and blog comments.
Our volunteer observers, who are pastors, secretaries, doctors, tech experts, stay at home moms and any number of other people willing to give their time for something they believe in, have experienced a dismissive and often adversarial attitude from the staff and certainly from the homosexual activist's representatives in the office. Just last night, Katie Blinn, from the elections office was taking pictures of our people. In that kind of environment, they, of course, were concerned what she was going to do with the pictures. When our people asked about it, they were told it is a public place and, "I can do what I want," and she proceeded to take more pictures.
It is common knowledge that there is a warm and in some cases, familial relationship between the elections office checkers and the observers representing the homosexual activists. This is something our people have addressed repeatedly. We have kept good records and journals.
The Elections Division is pushing back, strongly defending their process as free of bias for either side, and asserting that checkers are using great care and diligence in checking each and every signature — checking and even double-checking and triple-checking in some cases to make sure the process is as fair and even-handed as possible. The check is taking an entire month.
Secretary of State Sam Reed declined to make a formal comment, but the elections officials say the criticism are "ill-founded." They respond publicly to Randall, explaining that duplicate signatures that are disqualified rise as the count continues (which is why the error rate has risen), and that other claims, such as speeding up the process, are false. Clearly, Randall and his hate squad are feeling nervous. Election workers have counted about 80,000 petition signatures and they have about 60,000 more to go.