STOP! Do you know what you’re signing?!
Sam and I bet you really don’t know what you’re signing when you put your name on one of those petitions being circulated outside of grocery stores. If you don’t clearly understand the issue(s) at stake you shouldn’t be signing; especially just to qualify a measure for the November ballot, “so everybody can vote on it.
Is that how you define responsible citizenship?
Our state constitution gives us the right to approve or reject certain state laws through the process of initiative or referendum. A registered voter or group of voters, desiring to qualify an initiative or referendum for the ballot must gather signatures on petitions in order to do so. But we shouldn’t abuse that privilege by being total dunderheads who sign any petition thrust in front of us.
Two petition measures have qualified for the November 2012 ballot so far. They are Initiative 502, which would legalize and regulate the sale of small amounts of marijuana to people 21 and older, and Referendum 74, which would ask if same-sex marriage should be legalized in the state.
Essentially, R74 is a so-called “popular referendum” by which we may challenge the same-sex marriage law recently passed by the legislature. Enough signatures were gathered so the law will be put to a vote of the state’s citizens, who may decide to nullify the law. I-502 is what’s called a “direct” initiative whereby some citizens have drafted a proposed law to loosen up regulations on marijuana.
So, the two burning issues we’ll have to vote on come November involve gays getting married and smoking weed at their nuptials? Forget Obama and Romney. Sam doesn’t understand.
Since the deadline for proposed citizen initiatives is July 6 - about two more weeks - the signature gatherers (paid or not) are becoming bolder and more obnoxious. I was asked three times by a guy standing outside a grocery store the other day if I would sign a petition. After I told him no the third time I was tempted to try to get Sam to sic him.
Petitions for at least 15 more measures are proposed for the November ballot and are circulating right now, so be prepared. Our dear friend (not) Ken Eyman is circulating several petitions regarding taxes and transportation funding, attempting to effectively cripple our government - again. Did the state turn him down for a job one time or something? Charter School proponents are hoping to siphon off enough state education money that their precious darlings can avoid attending school with the riffraff. And some yahoo(s) are proposing the law require a two-thirds majority before our legislators can pass any tax measure. Why don’t we just handcuff them instead?
You are entitled to read a petition before you sign it. State law requires that petitions contain the full text of the measure, including ballot title and summary, written by either the Attorney General or a Superior Court judge, and other required information. The full text is usually printed on the back of the petition. Sometimes petition circulators attach the petitions to clip boards in order to make them easier to sign or easier for the circulator to handle. Sometimes the full petition or the full text of the proposal might be folded over or on the back. Feel free to read any part of the petition that you think is necessary in order for you to make up your mind, even if that means unfolding it or removing it from a clip board; it's your right.
It’s difficult to get away from those petition signature gatherers right now. Gathering signatures on petitions is a constitutionally guaranteed practice in the State of Washington though the right does not necessarily extend to all commercial private property open to the public. Washington courts have said there might be limits so that the activity does not interfere with what other people are doing on the property, but what limits might be reasonable depends on the circumstances.
Two bags of poop on you if you don’t take time to understand a measure before you sign a petition.