Court Dismisses Confidentiality on Ballot Appeals

People who sign appeals to place referendums on state ballots do not have a universal right under the First Amendment to keep their names undisclosed, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday in an 8-to-1 verdict.

The near-unanimity of the decision shadowed a deep separation on a more focused query that the justices left unanswered the other day: Are there enough reasons to guard the identities of people who signed appeals relating to a measure that goes against gay rights and say they fright harassment and reprisal should their names be placed on the Internet?

The case came from Washington State, which lets voters to rebuff legislation with the help of a referendum procedure. In the previous year, opponents of a state domestic partnership law that is known as the ‘everything but marriage’ act collected more than 130,000 signatures, which is enough to place a referendum on the November ballot.

A number of groups had demanded the state to maintain the names under its public records law and two groups said that they desired to place the names on the Internet.

Their objective, according to a news release, was to promote discussions amongst friends, relations and neighbors that can be rough for both parties.