News: NOM petitioner accused of fraud in Washington State

NOM fraud alleged in Washington, June 12, 2012

Preserve Marriage Washington’s effort to overturn same-sex marriage in the state has resulted in an accusation of fraud against one of the organization’s signature gatherers. Elections Division staff in Washington State have set aside 48 questionable petition sheets which appear to contain forged signatures.

Preserve Marriage Washington and its national partner, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), submitted 247,331 signatures to the state Elections Division last week in hopes of qualifying the measure, known as Referendum 74, on the November ballot. Approximately 1,000 of those signatures appear to have been forged, though their set aside is not likely to derail the petition drive as only 120,577 were required.

The 48 sheets containing the nearly 1,000 allegedly fraudulent signatures were linked to a woman with a signature-gathering company hired by the campaign. The woman apparently used the names of real registered voters from the state voting records, but then forged their signatures.

Joseph Backholm, the campaign manager for Preserve Marriage, apparently didn’t really care much that the law may have been violated in his name, and only stated that “We don’t want this in any way to take away the tremendous efforts of thousands of people who complied with the law in both letter and spirit.”

Organizers from Washington United for Marriage, a pro-equality group, stated that the fraud is not surprising given NOM’s shady tactics in the past.

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