The New York Times has a story about privacy and political petitions.
At a time when voters in many states are using petitions to qualify ballot measures on issues from gay rights to property rights, a legal dispute over the identity of 138,000 petition signers here is raising new questions about privacy, free speech and elections in the Internet age. […]
On Tuesday, voters in Washington State will decide whether to extend to registered domestic partners the same rights married couples have, short of marriage. But the campaign over the referendum, placed on the ballot by opponents of same-sex marriage, has been overshadowed by one issue: whether the individual names of the petitioners should be made public, and ultimately, circulated on the Web. […]
Some advocates for releasing the names who support the expansion of the state’s domestic partnership rights say they want to post the names of petition signers as a check against fraud but also to encourage potentially “uncomfortable” conversations with the people who signed the petitions. […]
Opponents of releasing the names, led by Protect Marriage Washington, the group behind the referendum, say gay rights groups are threatening free speech by intimidating petition signers.