Friday was the deadline for the group Just Want Privacy to turn in petitions for its proposed Initiative 1552.
OLYMPIA — Voters this November won’t be seeing a ballot measure seeking to roll back Washington’s transgender bathroom and locker room rule.
The group supporting the initiative canceled its appointment to submit petitions Friday afternoon, and said it did not have enough signatures to make the ballot.
Friday was the deadline to turn in signatures to qualify initiatives for the November election.
The group, Just Want Privacy, had been gathering petitions for proposed Initiative 1552.
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The initiative sought to reverse a 2015 state regulation that guarantees people access to areas like bathrooms and locker rooms according to the gender with which they live, as opposed to the gender with which they were born.
The state has said the rule, issued by the state Human Rights Commission, did not introduce a new right but clarified a 2006 law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Just Want Privacy has argued the rule could be used as a shield for sexual predators to enter such spaces and possibly harm women and children — actions that are already unlawful.
In a statement Friday, the group said it had gathered 240,000 signatures, an improvement over a similar effort Just Want Privacy made in 2016 that also failed.
“We exceeded last year’s total by over 20,000 signatures, and we know that so many more people throughout the state would be willing to sign if given the chance,” the statement said. “But the truth is that we simply couldn’t reach them in time.”
As of Friday, Just Want Privacy had reported spending $137,000 of the $257,000 it had raised to build a campaign and pay for some of its signature gathering.
Seth Kirby, Chair of Washington Won’t Discriminate, which opposed the initiative, hailed Friday’s developments.
“We all care about safety and privacy, but people understand that repealing protections from discrimination for transgender people won’t make anyone safer,” Kirby, a transgender man, said in a statement. “It’s already a felony to assault or harass someone in public facilities, and no one should have to prove their gender to self-appointed bathroom cops.”
In order to qualify for the November election ballot, Just Want Privacy needed to submit about 260,000 valid petition signatures. Groups often turn in tens of thousands of additional signatures, to account for those that are found not valid.
Emails Friday to Joseph Backholm, chairman of the Just Want Privacy campaign, were not returned.