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Ref. 71 moves closer to the ballot

Referendum 71 should go on the November ballot. So says Secretary of State Sam Reed. So says King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector.

Reed certified the voters' opportunity to repeal the "everything but marriage" law Wednesday. That was pretty much a given because his office previously reported it had more than enough signatures to make the ballot. It was a close one, with only about 1,400 signatures to spare, and it made the cut by having one of the lowest rejection rates in history.

Spector rejected a request from opponents of the initiative to block it from the ballot because of questions about the way the petitions were turned in. Some of the petitions did not have the validation box filled out, which is to be signed by the person collecting the signatures. Some were turned in blank, then stamped by campaign manager Lawrence Stickney, others remained blank.

Reed accepted the petitions anyway, which is standard practice for petitions. Spector said Reed has the authority to accept the petitions for verification, and his decision can't be challenged until after the measure is certified for the ballot. Opponents have five days to take their case to Thurston County Superior Court, which is where challenges of the petition process are handled, she said.

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The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.