For the second year in a row, it looks like anti-trans activists behind the group Just Want Privacy have failed to turn in the number of signatures they need to place an initiative to repeal human rights protections for trans people on the November ballot. Just Want Privacy was scheduled to meet a 3 p.m. deadline to turn in the signatures, the Secretary of State's Office reports, but failed to do so.
This year required at least 259,622 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot, and initiative campaigns typically gather well over 300,000 signatures in order to guard against redundant signatures or petitions the state rules as invalid. Just Want Privacy canceled its appointment at the Secretary of State's election division at 3:03 p.m. and didn't offer an explanation, according to Secretary of State spokesperson Erich Ebel.
Technically the deadline to turn in signatures extends to 5 p.m., but it's safe to assume the group won't make it, Ebel said.
This year, Just Want Privacy started gathering signatures earlier in the season, in February, compared to last year's April start-date. But the latest failed effort raised $100,000 less than last year's campaign. Nevertheless, Just Want Privacy still gathered $257,301 with the help of the Cedar Park Assembly of God Church, an evangelical megachurch in Bothell, John Olerud, the retired Mariners player, and the anti-LGBTQ Family Policy Institute of Washington.
Had the ballot initiative succeeded and passed, it would have restricted trans public school students from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. The new initiative would have also allowed students and their families to sue public schools if trans students did use the bathrooms in which they felt safe.
“We all care about safety and privacy, but people understand that repealing protections from discrimination for transgender people won’t make anyone safer,” Seth Kirby, the chair of Washington's No on I-1552 campaign, said in an e-mailed statement. “It’s already a felony to assault or harass someone in public facilities, and no one should have to prove their gender to self-appointed bathroom cops.”
Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington State Democratic Party, also publicly celebrated the news.
"Washington is a state that welcomes and respects all people, and we're going to keep on working to stop discrimination and protect the rights and safety of all Washingtonians," Podlodowski said in a statement. "With Trump as president, it's more important than ever that we do everything we can to protect LGBTQ rights here in Washington state."
Update: Just Want Privacy released a statement to their supporters this evening promising that, despite not gathering enough signatures for the ballot, they wouldn't give up.
"We will not stop working to reverse this dangerous rule and restore the safety and privacy of women and girls in Washington," Just Want Privacy spokesperson Kaeley Triller Haver said in an e-mailed statement. "Whether that means trying again next year or working with the legislature in the upcoming session will be determined in the near future."