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Thursday, February 16, 2012

WhoSigned.Org Goes Live with Names and Addresses of R-71 Signers

Posted by on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 4:24 PM

After years in federal courts and months of transcription, WhoSigned.Org went live this afternoon with a searchable database that includes the names and addresses of people who signed Referendum 71 in 2009. The referendum petition, circulated by anti-gay activists with the group Protect Marriage Washington, was an attempt to overturn Washington State's domestic partnership law that granted same-sex couples the same state rights as marriage.

WhoSigned.Org went all the way to the Supreme Court to uphold the state's open records law, and backers say they posted the data to help weed out any potential voter fraud and facilitate conversations with anti-gay R-71 signers. Some of the data may be incomplete, I'm told, because some handwriting couldn't be fully transcribed.

Here's the website.


Comments (57) RSS

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Zebes 1

er, i mean: Well, that's nice.
Posted by Zebes on February 16, 2012 at 4:39 PM · Report this
CHARLOTTE?! you fucking bitch.
Posted by Valkyrie on February 16, 2012 at 4:41 PM · Report this
seandr 3
There's Ken Hutcherson!
Posted by seandr on February 16, 2012 at 4:46 PM · Report this
kcrobinson 4
I can't find a way to use it in any way useful. If you search for one field, like last name, you can't limit the results of that search by any other field. For example, I can't figure out how to search for a first name/last name.
Posted by kcrobinson on February 16, 2012 at 4:46 PM · Report this
This should not have happened.

Liberals, you're shooting yourselves in the foot here. Since this drama came up I have refused to sign anything for anyone period, because I don't want it in a public, searchable, search-indexed database online.

I'd never sign the hate-centric Ref 71, but I also won't sign any socially progressive things anymore either.

People who sign these should be protected.

This falls into the same vein as despicable companies that scrape police blotters and repost mugshots with full names, then charge hundreds of dollars to remove it. Perfectly legal, and perfectly stupid.

Grats all.
Posted by Swearengen on February 16, 2012 at 4:49 PM · Report this
If we going to have the stupid, stupid, annoying, bogus initiative system in this state, then we're all going to be lawmakers. And if we're all lawmakers, we need this kind of openness.
Posted by SLCamper on February 16, 2012 at 4:52 PM · Report this
i'm with @6: people who put these initiatives forward -- and people who indicate their support by signing them -- are acting as mini-legislators. it is and always has been a matter of public record. the searchable internet database is a novelty, and probably will have a chilling effect, but you know what? THAT'S A GOOD THING. if you can't stand by your signature, you shouldn't fucking sign.
Posted by Valkyrie on February 16, 2012 at 4:56 PM · Report this
edie murphy beverly hills have eyes cleary 8
@5 - If you're too afraid to stand behind your beliefs, don't sign it. Fine by me. Your cowardice is noted as typical of your side.

Now, I'm excited for them to enable the Facebook cross-reference so I can weed out some so-called friends.
Posted by edie murphy beverly hills have eyes cleary on February 16, 2012 at 4:57 PM · Report this
Free Lunch 9
I like that you can search by street (and then sort on address) - I now know which of my neighbors signed. No surprises there.

The sorting should be a little smarter; for instance, if you sort on last name, it should automatically apply a secondary sort of first name. And for any non-name sort (e.g., zip code), the secondary/tertiary sort (for zipcodes that are the same) should be last name/first name.

Also, where's the google map implementation? That would be great as a snapshot of geographical trends.

Geeks, the data is right there. Get on it.
Posted by Free Lunch on February 16, 2012 at 4:57 PM · Report this
If they uncover a lot of fraud among the signatures, will the AG go after the signature collectors?

Oh, wait, I forgot your AG is a total dick.
Posted by RDM on February 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM · Report this
Cousin Cory? I didn't realize you were that kind of a bigot, man.
Posted by aiff on February 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM · Report this
Baconcat 12
@5: The Supreme Court heard your arguments and dismissed them. In fact, I believe it was Justice Scalia that was the most bullish on calling people who are afraid of disclosure cowards.

Nothing notable will happen because of this. SHRUG.
Posted by Baconcat on February 16, 2012 at 5:00 PM · Report this
StellaLuna 13
Pretty sure the ENTIRE city of Aberdeen signed.
Posted by StellaLuna on February 16, 2012 at 5:03 PM · Report this
Chef Thunder 15
@9 & 4 I'm fairly certain this a couple of people doing this on their own time... Let's just thank them for all the hard work
Posted by Chef Thunder on February 16, 2012 at 5:13 PM · Report this
Those mother fucking liars! I sincerely hope, some way it can be proven that there is no god and that their deepest held beliefs are proven false. Because nothing would hurt them more.
Posted by iron-amoeba on February 16, 2012 at 5:14 PM · Report this
Josh Bis 17
Did illegible signatures count toward certification? If not, I'm fine with them being missing from the dataset -- could just be patriots trying to subvert the signature collection process.
Posted by Josh Bis on February 16, 2012 at 5:15 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 18
Democracy in Action, it's not for cowards.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on February 16, 2012 at 5:17 PM · Report this
Ooh, I spotted a woman I used to work with! Sandy, I'm a ask you about this HARD next time we pass each other on the sidewalk.
Posted by gloomy gus on February 16, 2012 at 5:20 PM · Report this
NotSean 20
Found my inlaws. Figures.
Posted by NotSean on February 16, 2012 at 5:24 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 21
put in your ZIP code, or Street number/name and see which one of your neighbors hates you.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on February 16, 2012 at 5:26 PM · Report this
Gordon Werner 22
I wish we could have this for every referendum/initiative ... and to @5 ... initiative signature lists have always been publicly available ... this wasn't something unique to Ref.71
Posted by Gordon Werner on February 16, 2012 at 5:28 PM · Report this
M3 23
Gary Lynn Dotson apparently felt so strongly about this issue that he signed twice.
Posted by M3 on February 16, 2012 at 5:30 PM · Report this
Baconcat 24
Not signing (as far as I found):
-Joe Fuiten
-Joseph Backholm
-Tim Eyman
-Gary Randall
-Mark Driscoll


Also look at the language up top. They said this was a petition about gay marriage. DOUBLE-INTERESTIN'.
Posted by Baconcat on February 16, 2012 at 5:30 PM · Report this
kim in portland 25
Don't forget that some people signed and thought they were supporting equality. The signature gathers were not always honest either when they explained the petition according to some of my family.

Accepting that your information is publically available is part of the process, just as those of us who donated over a minimum amount to equality campaigns have our information available. I guess if you're uncomfortable, then don't sign and don't donate. And if you're okay with it, then prepare an answer in advance.
Posted by kim in portland on February 16, 2012 at 5:34 PM · Report this
Just in time to remind those who would sign Referendum 74 that their signatures are not secret, and that we are watching.
Posted by TechBear on February 16, 2012 at 5:49 PM · Report this
Baconcat 27
I wanna send a copy to "For My Wife" to each and every one of them.

Otherwise, eh. I thought this would unleash a torrent of emotion but I can't really be bothered at this point. Eh.
Posted by Baconcat on February 16, 2012 at 5:52 PM · Report this
stinkbug 28
I'm confused by some of the data. Can someone explain this:

- do a search on "university way" (no quotes), you should get two matches.
- click on a name in the second result to view the petition.

The result on the main page lists a middle name and a Seattle address.
The scanned petition shows no middle name and an entirely different Spokane address.

What's going on there?
Posted by stinkbug on February 16, 2012 at 5:58 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 30
My outrage-o-meter has long since expired on this.

For those that spot signers they know, they can pout and create voodoo dolls. Or they can get along with life.

After all, this vote was over two years ago and many attitudes, names, addresses, opinions, revelations have shifted after nearly three years of politics.

Use caution before flaming or peeing on their lawans, and don’t be too bitter – you’ll get wrinkles!
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 31
Correction to 30: Remove 'names, addresses' from third paragraph.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 16, 2012 at 6:40 PM · Report this
@29 - As soon as you have any evidence of any voter fraud, then I will consider spending a lot of time and effort to change the way we do things. But since I have never seen any evidence of any sort, I can only assume that you just like spending government money and changing things for the heck of it, you liberal you. Maybe we can raise taxes to fund the changes! Wee.
Posted by SLCamper on February 16, 2012 at 7:05 PM · Report this
I was surprised to see my sister-in-law's mother on the list, as she didn't strike me as someone who would have signed. But then I checked the actual register where she signed, and it turns out that the address listed was the retirement center where she went to live after her memory (and her health) started to falter. In fact, everyone on that same page was a resident in this long-term care facility.

Now, granted they have the right to sign if they want, but I'm pretty sure most did not truly understand what they were putting their name on.
Posted by Tipton31 on February 16, 2012 at 7:06 PM · Report this
My wife found her name on the list and I assure you, we're decidedly lesbian. So there's definite fraud going on, and a report has been sent.

I'm glad this list is out, because otherwise we might never have known that her name was present.
Posted by FranFW on February 16, 2012 at 7:15 PM · Report this
Baconcat 35
Less than 6 hours and people are already finding evidence of fraud. Oh man.
Posted by Baconcat on February 16, 2012 at 7:20 PM · Report this
So pleased that no one in my [ultra-conservative] family appears to be on this list.

But golly is this fun — especially checking out the Seattle residents who signed. Check out this douche/apparent signer:!/michaelfreimut2…

Economists are, reliably, the worst. Dude "loves freedom." What a joke.

Posted by dontknowwhyiputupwithyall on February 16, 2012 at 7:47 PM · Report this
Donolectic 37
@30 - You, outraged over anything other than people speaking up and/or potentially rocking the boat? Never!
Posted by Donolectic on February 16, 2012 at 7:55 PM · Report this
Eric Arrr 38
@33, nice work.

For my own part: no family members on the list. My work is done here.
Posted by Eric Arrr on February 16, 2012 at 8:04 PM · Report this
@5: If you take that attitude you're never going to be part of any referendum. If you wants to play you gots to pay.
Posted by Weekilter on February 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM · Report this
Shini 40
I'm seeing duplicate signatures (same full name and addresses)
Posted by Shini on February 16, 2012 at 9:41 PM · Report this

People should welcome open voting.

Eventually e-Democracy could replace representative democracy entirely.

It's already happening in the sense that issues are constantly debated and decided on social media.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 16, 2012 at 9:53 PM · Report this

I don't see Rob McKenna on the list...

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on February 16, 2012 at 9:57 PM · Report this
The dumbass on your current cover signed (of course) as did his ugly wife.…
Posted by Oly insider on February 16, 2012 at 10:39 PM · Report this
Kitts 44
I'm relieved-- I have a couple of somewhat conservative friends/classmates from the UW, and I was worried that I would see them there. Fortunately, none of them have appeared, though in one case there was a near match (but different middle initial). I wasn't really sure what I would do if I saw a friend's name on the list-- normally I'm willing to just not talk about political disagreements, but signing a petition to deprive me of equal rights seems like it might be beyond the pale.
Posted by Kitts on February 16, 2012 at 11:13 PM · Report this
@40 - This is expected. The duplicate signatures are due to individuals signing the referendum multiple times and there are at least 2,208 individuals who did so.

We've already heard from individuals about cases of potential fraud and possible errors in the signature match process.
Posted by Brian Murphy ( on February 16, 2012 at 11:32 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 46
Whoo, just found 2 people I work with (so far).
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on February 17, 2012 at 12:54 AM · Report this
I was not expecting to find a few people I know in the list - my uncle and this nice lady I've known since high school. To my knowledge, they have never expressed their views about homosexuality and same-sex marriage to me. So I'm kinda shocked (and a bit hurt?).
Posted by asseenontv on February 17, 2012 at 1:05 AM · Report this
There's one "Daniel P. Savage" on the list. Our Dan's middle name is "Keenan" (per wikipedia), so no chance for some fun with that, sadly. There's also a Terry Miller, and a Jennifer Graves. I guess what I'm saying is make damn sure it's the real whoever before you jump down their throat.
Posted by Lynx on February 17, 2012 at 4:12 AM · Report this
Purocuyu 49
Anybody know if this applies to the whole nation, or was the decision written in a way that applies only to Washington State.
I'm in Calif, and I can't find any list for prop 8.
Posted by Purocuyu on February 17, 2012 at 6:10 AM · Report this
NaFun 50
@5, @22 et al - I collected a few signatures for the Sensible Washington and I-502 pot initiatives, and occasionally had people refuse to sign because of the possibility of something like this happening. Some in startup businesses who didn't want conservative funders to see them in favor of pot legalization, others paranoid the gubmint would come get them.
Posted by NaFun on February 17, 2012 at 7:40 AM · Report this
uh when i search "seattle" i only show 2 signatures. none for "olympia". also someone said they found ken hutcherson, but i can't find him. and someone mentioned two results for searching "university way"--i only get one.

seems like this database is a bit wonky.
Posted by fa69ot on February 17, 2012 at 9:22 AM · Report this
@51 - I just searched for Seattle (no quotes) and got pages and pages of results. Same with Olympia and University Way (I got the two results someone else mentioned). How are you searching? With quotes? Doesn't seem to work with that.

Also, searching with a combination of last name and first name doesn't work. So to find Ken Hutcherson, you have to just search Hutcherson (the more unique of the two). That is definitely a flaw of this system, but this website is better than nothing...
Posted by bookworm on February 17, 2012 at 9:38 AM · Report this
Funny, I found a certain gay State Representative's family member who signed it. Also found several duplicates.

One thing I hope can be done would be outreach to the non-English-speaking community to give them a chance to verify that they were not misled into signing something they did not actually support.
Posted by MemeGene on February 17, 2012 at 11:03 AM · Report this
Purocuyu (#49): different states, different laws. In California, the names submitted on initiative petitions do not become public. This is just another problem with the initiative process. While I agree that those who sign petitions should do so knowing that their names will be disclosed, the Supreme Court did not hold it as a requirement, merely that a state may have a law that the names of petition signers will be disclosed.
Posted by John D on February 17, 2012 at 2:29 PM · Report this
Multi-field search/filtering of the Referendum 71 database just went live at

@51 and @52 - we don't expect quotation marks and since this is a "word-wheel" filter/search it continues to refine the result set as people type additional characters. Pause for about a second in typing a name and it will update with results for what you've typed so far.

@52 - Now you can search across multiple fields simultaneously.
Posted by Brian Murphy ( on February 17, 2012 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Keister Button 56
One of those "I'm a real estate tycoon because I bought Seattle houses in the mid 2000s then lost everything when I was beset by Notices of Trustee Sales once I had to pay principal on my empire" nitwits signed. His address given on the referendum signature sheet was repossessed, along with two other properties, by the bank last year.
Posted by Keister Button on February 17, 2012 at 6:28 PM · Report this
this guy I know in Spokane 57
By the way, they've spiffed up the website (not that anybody's looking at this comment thread any more): Now you can filter by first name, middle name, last name, address, city, state, AND zip.
Posted by this guy I know in Spokane on February 18, 2012 at 9:12 AM · Report this
Oshtur Vishanti 58
And just to point out - this is no more revealing than a campaign button, yard sign, or donation which are not searchable for most things in someone's google map.

You can't legislate in secret anymore - you sign it people have a right to know that you signed it and you have a responsibility to stand up for your opinion.

I was personally quite pleased to find how few did sign it in my entire zip code and and the only relatives that did are the ones that think Obama was born in Kenya, i.e. I wasn't shocked.

This sort of thing is the natural antidote to the 'sign anything' people that allow anyone with deep enough pockets for paid signature gatherers to get anything on the ballot. Signing is speaking up, and if you do then don't be surprised that you are heard.
Posted by Oshtur Vishanti on February 18, 2012 at 2:16 PM · Report this
I can't wait to create such a list for any gun control ballot measure petitions that might come up. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.
Posted by dean.fuller on January 3, 2013 at 3:08 PM · Report this

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