Rantz: Wash. Democrats seek descriptions of signature gatherers to harass

Dec 6, 2023, 7:56 PM

Washington Democrats initiatives...

Hedge fund owner and Let's Go Washington founder Brian Heywood can be seen at a Shell gas station in Kent on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023. (Photo: Kate Stone, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: Kate Stone, KIRO Newsradio)

The Washington State Democrat Party is encouraging people to report the locations of initiative signature gatherings, even asking for a physical description of them. The apparent intent is to harass signature gatherers collecting signatures to put initiatives on the ballot, that the party doesn’t support. It is an unprecedented harassment campaign that seeks to disrupt the democratic process.

Republican activist Brian Heywood is bankrolling an effort to put in front of voters Democrats’ top legislative priorities. It’s called Let’s Go Washington. He believes that voters would overturn Democrat decision to add $0.50 a gallon to gas prices via Governor Jay Inslee’s cap and trade scheme. He also believes voters would reject the Democrat ban on vehicular pursuits by law enforcement under most circumstances, a payroll tax for compulsory long-term healthcare coverage, and plans to pass an income tax.

Heywood’s initiatives are popular: he’s already submitted signatures to rid the state of the costly gas tax. Consequently, the Washington Democrats is growing increasingly concerned that the initiatives would repeal their unpopular legislation.

Washington Democrats interfering in the democratic process

To stop voters from signing the petition to force a vote, Washington Democrats is asking people to call (425) 553-2175 in order “to report signature gatherers.”

You get an automated message when you call the number. It asks the caller to “report a petition circulator sighting” by offering “as possible, including the location, time of day, a description of the circulator, and any other relevant details along with your contact information.”

What is the intent of asking for the signature gatherer’s location and physical description? Washington Democrats didn’t respond to a request for comment by The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. But it seems obvious: It’s a harassment campaign.

If pressed by left-wing media, Washington Democrats would argue they’re sending representatives out to offer a counter-narrative to that of the signature gatherer. But the move is meant to intimidate. It’s very easy to decline to sign an initiative — or even read its text — when someone is standing next to you shouting that the initiative is lie or a trick.

Intimidation campaign

From a strategic standpoint, the anti-democratic bullying tactic is working.

“Blockers have either tried to block signature-gatherers from collecting signatures or harassed them,” a spokesperson for Let’s  Go Washington noted in a statement to KIRO Newsradio’s Kate Stone. The spokesperson works with Heywood. “Others have tried to recruit away the signature gatherers with offers of significant money. Blockers have admitted to working with a few different organizations: Fuse Washington, SEIU 775, Fieldworks, and Protect Washington.”

The spokesperson noted that it’s a gross misdemeanor under Washington law and stated specific incidents that became tense.

In Ridgefield, the spokesperson said the county sheriff had to be called to remove an aggressive “blocker” that was “yelling and screaming at gatherers at Rosauer’s grocery store.” At a Safeway in Tacoma, police were called on the signature gatherers, likely as an intimidation tactic. And in Camas, “a blocker showed up (to a Safeway) and tried to cause trouble and stop people from signing.”

In September, Yakima Mayor Janice Deccio called police on signature gatherers working for Heywood’s initiatives. It earned statewide attention.

Deccio reported them as “far right-wing petitioners,” which they were not, to convince police to become involved. They wouldn’t. Rather than apologize for the offensive 911 call, Deccio defended her actions at a council meeting.

Pushing back

From an optics perspective, the Washington Democrats stunt appears to be backfiring. Voters of all different political stripes are criticizing this move on X, formerly known as Twitter. Some are even calling (425) 553-2175 in protest, offering fake details to stymie the party’s shameful efforts.

The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH does not endorse calling (425) 553-2175 to offer fake details because calling (425) 553-2175 with fake details might cross ethical lines, even if calling (425) 553-2175 with fake details would be done for noble purposes. So, please, do not call (425) 553-2175 with fake details to help save the democratic process.

The head of the Washington State Republican Party, meanwhile, is harshly condemning the anti-democratic move.

“This is a monument to left-wing hypocrisy,” WSRP chair Jim Walsh said in a statement to The Jason Rantz Show. “It echoes the East German Stasi, from the old Cold War days: Encouraging citizens to snitch on each other. It’s divisive. Decadent. Suppressing voter participation in democracy. All the things the Left accuses others of doing. The Democrats’ days of one-party rule in Washington are clearly ending. And they’re throwing tantrums as their political power skips away.”

The Washington Democrats are so desperate to keep their unpopular ideas from a vote, knowing they’d be destined for rejection, they’re stooping to an audacious new low. Ironically, they complain that “MAGA Republicans” (a term they now use for any Republican) are threats to democracy. If they’re so offended by initiatives, perhaps they should stop passing unpopular legislation.

Listen to The Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

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Rantz: Wash. Democrats seek descriptions of signature gatherers to harass