It's important for everyone to recognize that the court action to prevent the Secretary of State from releasing any public records on Referendum 71 isn't an isolated event. Bopp, Coleson & Bostrom, the law firm behind the court action temporarily preventing us getting access to the records, is the same firm behind the challenge to public disclosure of donors in California in the wake of Proposition 8. What we're seeing is an emerging national strategy of the aggressors painting themselves as victims and making public records secret to protect those who fund and advocate for our families continued second class status and treatment.
In past civil rights struggles is was white cloth and stitching that hid the identities of the intolerant from public view. In this generation's civil rights struggles it's shaping up to be a cloth of faux victim-hood stitched tight with threads of legally imposed secrecy and misinformation.
In Washington State there is nothing a voter can do to remove their signature from a petition once it's submitted. Paid Signature gatherers are not registered, how they are paid is not regulated, and per signature payment is well recognized as an incitement to fraud in other ballot initiative states. No wonder the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center gives Washington State a failing "F" grade in their July 2009 report card.
We hope to give voters who were misled a way to correct the record and discover the extent of signature fraud. When it may come down to just a handful of signatures placing Referendum 71 on the ballot, understanding what part fraud and paid signature gatherers might have played is essential in ensuring the integrity of the ballot initiative and referendum process.
We call on the Secretary of State to vigorously defend our public disclosure laws making public records for Referendum 71 available to all who request them, and to restore public faith in open government in Washington State.