A Thurston County judge is allowing state election officials to release the names of voters who signed 11 petitions for citizen initiatives, many of them sponsored by Tim Eyman.
The petitions will be released as soon as possible, spokesman David Ammons of the Office of the Secretary of State said in an e-mail .
Superior Court Judge Richard Hicks ruled Friday to dissolve a temporary restraining order brought by Eyman that blocked the release of the names.
Secretary of State Sam Reed has contended that the signatures are a public record that can be disclosed under state law. Eyman’s lawyer says voters have the same right to privacy when signing petitions that they have when making choices on the ballot.
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Hicks had put the case on hold previously while a parallel case involving Referendum 71 signatures was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The federal high court ruled earlier this year that release of signatures on initiative and referendum petitions would not violate the Constitution.
But R-71 sponsors, who opposed the state’s granting of all state marital rights to registered domestic partners in the 2009 ballot campaign, have appealed further in U.S. District Court on grounds that disclosure could subject signers to harassment or harm. The campaign contended that some of its backers were harassed last year.
Eyman sent an e-mail to supporters and news outlets saying his case will go forward before Hicks’ successor next year. In the meantime, signatures can be released – with the limitation that signatures cannot be used for commercial purposes.
Brad Shannon: 360-753-1688 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.theolympian.com/politicsblog