Thursday, August 13, 2009

"All Eyes Are On R-71" but I Have Some Concerns

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R-71 UPDATE: Election crews have now posted the latest Referendum 71 signature-check results, adding over 15,000 checked signatures, pushing the total to over 48,000. The tally now includes 43,147 signatures accepted and 5,142 rejected, with a slightly higher rejection rate of 10.65 percent.

It takes 120,577 valid Washington voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. Sponsors brought in 137,689. That would allow a rejection rate of no more than 12.4 percent.

The cumulative report is here and the more extensive report is here .

Special Request.
We have a need for 15 more observers on our team in the elections office in Olympia over the next two weeks. If you would be willing to work a part shift between 7:30 Am and 10:30 PM some days over these next two weeks please contact me immediately at

You must be someone who is known to Faith and Freedom and/or be willing to answer certain qualifying questions, such as, where you attend church and the name of your pastor, etc. I'm sure you understand why this is essential.

The reason for increased staff is explained in my blog that follows.


"All Eyes Are On R-71" but I Have Some Concerns

Yesterday, I spent some time at the elections office observing ground zero. I have some concerns.

Brad Shannon wrote last week in the Olympian, "Election workers say they've never seen a ballot measure attract so much scrutiny as R-71."

Last week, the was predicting, "R-71's chances of making the fall ballot are diminishing."

The Seattle Post Globe was saying, "Anti-gay marriage initiative slips a bit in signature verification." And the Seattle Weekly declared, "No ballot for you. R-71 error rate creeps higher."

That was then, this is now.

As you know the error rate has now fallen to as low as 10.42%. David Ammons, in the Secretary's office, has said 12.4% or lower will put it on the ballot.

The error rate has fallen due to the master checking or third look at the signatures. Some signatures have been eliminated in the first two levels of checking for various reasons, however, upon closer check by the master checkers they have been found to be valid.

The closer our signatures are checked, the more they are to be found to be valid. You did a great job gathering the signatures.

I was told yesterday, however, that the elections office wants to accelerate the process so they can finish within the next two weeks. This would include working the next two Saturdays. I was also told that the other side was putting pressure on the elections people to complete the verification process.

Frankly, these are not the other side's signatures, they're ours, and we're not in that big a hurry. Larry Stickney and I have communicated that to the office. Late yesterday they agreed to see if they could eliminate this Saturday and work next Saturday only.

This is a major concern to me and others. Be assured, "all eyes are on R-71."

Elections has also increased the number of master checkers from 3 to as many as 6 at some times. We are only allowed to have 3 observers in the room at any one time, so it is more difficult to observe as closely as we have been on that particular part of the process. This is critical to us.

If the last check by the master checkers is compromised by hurrying through the process, our error rate will begin to rise over the next few days. We are keeping extensive journals of all concerns as this process proceeds and are prepared to address it in formal terms if necessary.

The error rate has been as low as 10.42%, well below the percentage needed to put the Referendum on the ballot.

I understand the other side is concerned. More than one person in the media has told me the homosexual rights activists were blown away when we turned in the 138,000+ signatures---a credit to your hard work and the Lord's blessing.

Speeding up the process works against our success. I am certain the other side knows this.

Pastors Roy and Valerie Hartwell are doing a great job overseeing the observation for our side. Roy told me yesterday that when they were using 3 master checkers, the average time per master check was around 3 minutes. Now that they have accelerated the process, it is around 2 minutes. If this negatively effects the error rate it will show up over the next few days.

I am concerned. But I am certain that we are on the right side of this important cultural and spiritual issue.

Please stand with us in prayer over the coming days. This is a defining issue for the next generation and beyond, in Washington. Voters have a right to speak to this issue.

And to be very candid, there is something much bigger in play.

I personally believe new relationships and alliances are being formed around this and other important cultural and spiritual issues. I believe new and younger leadership is and will emerge. A State Representative told me two weeks ago, "Gary, this is a defining time for the future of our culture and the leadership in the Christian and conservative community." Indeed it is. I further believe we are on the cusp of a renewed passion to restore, not remake, our culture both locally and nationally, toward traditional Judeo-Christian values. I can't prove it, but I believe it. I sense it.

Thank you for your continued financial support.

And thank you for your prayers.

God bless you.

Gary Randall
Faith & Freedom

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