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Public Disclosure of Referendum Petition Signatures

Robert Timothy Reagan, Margaret S. Williams, Marie Leary, Catherine R. Borden, Jessica L. Snowden, Patricia D. Breen, Jason A. Cantone
June 12, 2014
Available Online Only

Doe v. Reed (Benjamin H. Settle, W.D. Wash. 3:09-cv-5456)
Persons who signed a referendum petition filed a federal complaint seeking to enjoin the state’s releasing the identities of the over 138,500 signatories. The district court held a proceeding that afternoon and a hearing on the following day, which the state defendants chose not to attend. The court issued a temporary restraining order and held a preliminary injunction hearing a little more than a month later. The district court granted a preliminary injunction, but the court of appeals reversed it. At the beginning of its term, the Supreme Court stayed the reversal, reinstating the injunction, but the Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals at the end of the Court’s term. On remand, the district court denied the plaintiffs’ as-applied challenge and lifted the injunction. After the petitions were released on the Internet, the court of appeals determined that the case was moot.
Topics: Ballot measure; intervention.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.