Last year, when backers of an initiative to restrict trans access to bathrooms failed to get enough signatures to make the ballot, they framed it as a timing issue. They’d started collecting signatures late in the game, and ran out of days on the calendar to hit the needed amount by the deadline.
It’s still unclear what excuses* will be used by the group Just Want Privacy this year, but Friday afternoon we learned that once again they’ve failed to collect enough signatures to put their measure on the ballot—this time after many months of canvassing the state looking for support on the measure.
The Secretary of State’s office said Friday afternoon that backers of I-1522 cancelled their appointment to turn in signatures; Friday was the deadline to submit signatures for ballot measures slated for this fall.
— Joseph O'Sullivan (@OlympiaJoe) July 7, 2017
The news wasn’t a complete surprise. According to the group’s own count, it had only 206,004 of a desired 330,000 signatures as of Wednesday.
The news drew cheers from opponents of the measure, which they argue is just a way to demonize transgender people and restrict their rights.
“We all care about safety and privacy, but people understand that repealing protections from discrimination for transgender people won’t make anyone safer,” said Seth Kirby, the transgender man who chairs Washington Won’t Discriminate, the No on I-1552 campaign. “It’s already a felony to assault or harass someone in public facilities, and no one should have to prove their gender to self-appointed bathroom cops.”
Opponents of the measure also called on I-1522 backers to take the hint that Washington isn’t too hot on the idea of restricting transgender bathroom access.
“It’s time for the forces behind I-1552 to get the message—Washingtonians aren’t buying what they’re selling because in this state we value freedom and liberty, and we don’t want to go backwards from the progress we’ve made for LGBTQ people,” Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, said in a release put out by Washington Won’t Discriminate.
*Update: In a statement, Just Want Privacy seems to blame the lack of paid signature gatherers for their failure. “It has been over fifteen years since a volunteer team has been able to get an initiative on the ballot in Washington without millionaire funding,” the group said in a press release.