God must hate Referendum 71. Let’s put aside the legal, temporal, financial, and personnel challenges its sponsors face. Instead, let’s look at their new spatial challenge. According to state law, all petitions must be printed on one piece of paper and contain a “readable, full, true, and correct copy of the proposed measure printed on the reverse side of the petition.”
So petitions for Referendum 71, in this case, must include the entire domestic-partnership bill it attempts to repeal—which is 114 pages long. That’s right, they have to print a 114-page piece of legislation (.pdf) on one piece of paper.
It seems impossible. But David Ammons, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, says referendum sponsors could print the petition on a very, very large piece of paper.
Large bodies of text have been printed on petitions before--but nothing like this. Initiative 1029, which concerned health-care workers, ran a petition last year that included the equivalent of 21 regular pages of copy. “They took a large piece of paper and folded it four times,” says Ammons, adding the text was in minute six-point type. “If the text got too small [on Referendum 71] … it would be subject to challenge,” he says. Referendum 71, however, contains more than five times the text as 1029.
The petition “is under design at the moment," Gary Randall, a board member of Protect Marriage Washington, writes on his blog. "Our printing costs will be unusually expensive.” He then asks people to donate.