Washington Democrats set up hotline to report ballot signature efforts

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(The Center Square) – Washington’s deadline to submit signatures for ballot initiatives is Dec. 29, and the state’s Democratic Party could be looking to run interference on the gathering process.

Let’s Go Washington, run by Washington businessman Brian Heywood, is gathering the hundreds of thousands of signatures necessary to get six ballot initiatives certified for the 2024 election.

Among them is I-2113, which would roll back controversial restrictions on when police can pursue someone escaping in a vehicle. I-2081 would establish the parents’ bill of rights, requiring schools to show a parent or guardian instructional materials and inspect student records as well as require notifications on when students are taken off campus and provide an opportunity to opt-out of any type of sex education curriculum.

The group submitted nearly 420,000 signatures last month for a proposition that, if successful, would repeal Washington’s cap-and-trade law that’s pointed to as the reason for a 50-cent-per-gallon increase on fuel.

Washington’s Democratic Party opposes the measures and, on Tuesday, asked supporters to call a hotline and report any sighting of signature gatherers.

“The extreme Washington GOP is teaming up with the mega-rich to pass a set of ballot initiatives that would hurt working Washingtonians,” the party said in a social media post.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington has also advertised a number to call and report signature gatherers. The number that the ACLU, a non-political organization, published is identical to the Washington Democratic Party’s hotline save the transposing of the last two digits.

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs, a Democrat, released a statement in July 2023 reminding residents that harassing or impeding the signature-gathering process in any way is a misdemeanor.

“If you witness a potential violation of these protections, please contact local law enforcement,” he said at the time. “All voters must be able to take part in our democratic processes without intimidation or disenfranchisement.”

Let’s Go Washington must submit 324,516 valid endorsements from registered Washington voters at the end of the month. The process takes teams of volunteers and paid gatherers across the state to not only accumulate the requisite number of signatures but enough so that the effort can survive challenges to thousands of them.

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