SEATTLE – Secretary of State Sam Reed may have accepted tens of thousands of invalid signatures before he certified a November referendum on expanding domestic partnership benefits, a King County judge said Wednesday.
But state law requires that any challenge to Reed’s decision be brought in Thurston County, where the state Capitol in Olympia is, King County Superior Court Judge Julie Spector said in rejecting a lawsuit that sought to block Referendum 71 from the ballot.
Supporters of expanded legal benefits for gay couples said they’d file a new lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court today – the same day a federal judge in Tacoma is scheduled to hear arguments over whether the R-71 signature petitions should be made public.
“Judge Spector issued a very strong affirmation of the deficiencies in the signatures and petitions accepted by the secretary of state,” said Anne Levinson, a lawyer who has led the effort to keep R-71 off the ballot. “If those petitions had been correctly disqualified, the measure would not have had enough signatures to be certified.”