Court Friday to Weigh Whether Counties Can Withhold Evidence of Invalidated Referendum Signatures

Sacramento, CA—A key court hearing tomorrow is expected to determine whether counties must turn over more than 130,000 signatures that were thrown out as part of the so-called “Co-Ed School Bathroom Bill” referendum.

After the Secretary of State declared on Feb. 24 that the referendum failed because only about 487,000 of the 620,000 voter signatures were valid, volunteers with the referendum campaign went to several county elections offices to inspect the invalidated signatures. During these inspections, it became clear to the Privacy for All Students (PFAS) coalition that many signatures had been wrongly disqualified. The coalition filed suit on March 14 and sent subpoenas to most of the counties to produce the invalidated signatures.

The State is now arguing that the signatures cannot be turned over due to voter confidentiality. If successful, the State’s arguments would deprive referendum backers of the evidence necessary to prove that signatures were wrongly thrown out. The State’s motion to quash subpoenas will be heard before Judge Timothy Frawley of the Sacramento Superior Court this Friday, April 11, at 1:30 p.m.

Pacific Justice Institute is acting as lead counsel in the case, Gleason v. Bowen. The president of PJI, Brad Dacus, commented, “This is yet another attempt by the Secretary of State to deprive voters of their fundamental rights. It is outrageous that the State wants to avoid all accountability, even when referendum signatures are wrongly invalidated. We’re not going to let this happen without a fight. No state or county official is above the law.”

The referendum seeks to overturn the highly controversial AB 1266, a bill enacted by the Legislature and signed by Governor Brown last year that would allow students to choose bathrooms, locker rooms and sports teams based on their self-identified gender and not based on biology or anatomy.  

Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit legal organization dedicated to defending religious, parental, and other constitutional rights. 

P.O. Box 276600 Sacramento, CA 95827-6600 
Phone: (916) 857-6900, Fax: (916) 857-6902