Prop 71 update
Some good news:
A federal judge on Thursday ordered the state of Washington to keep shielding the identities of people who signed petitions to force a vote on expanded benefits for gay couples.
U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle in Tacoma granted the preliminary injunction involving petitions for Referendum 71 while a related case moves forward on the constitutionality of the state public records act.
The referendum, sponsored by a group called Protect Marriage Washington, asks voters to approve or reject the "everything but marriage" domestic partnership law that state lawmakers passed earlier this year.
In his ruling, Settle said he was "not persuaded that waiver of one's fundamental right to anonymous political speech is a prerequisite for participation in Washington's referendum process."
The legal battle to keep the referendum off the Nov. 3 ballot ended Wednesday when supporters of expanded rights for domestic partners said they wouldn't appeal a Thurston County Superior Court judge's refusal to block the vote.
Good, and amazingly logical for a Federal judge.
It seems to me that signing a referendum is not materially different from voting. If voting is supposed to be secret, then signing a referendum should also be secret. And the judge seems to share this theory.
Judge Settle also overruled the Communists on the state Public Disclosure Commission, who had decided earlier
that exposing Christians to death threats was a desirable and positive goal, an imperative Dialectical Movement toward a Perfect Progressive Society.
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Sidenote: There's no real constitutional basis for secrecy in either type of voting, and I suspect the system would work better if voting were open. At this point in history, being able to see
the effect of your own vote is more important than stopping the old-fashioned style of vote fraud. When Alderman McGrath paid you $100 for your vote, you probably weren't operating in the "Public Good", but you were voting in your own vested interest. Your vote had a specific value, and you knew it was important! Modern-style corruption destroys the value of voting entirely, discarding or altering vast numbers of ballots with one keystroke. Tracking your own vote to its destination would return integrity to the process, would allow you and the Alderman to check on each other. (It still wouldn't help in Presidential elections where the Electoral College automatically deletes all votes except a few hundred in Florida and Ohio; but it would re-value all the other elections.)
However! Since ordinary voting is currently secret, signing a petition should also be secret.