OLYMPIA, Wash. - A referendum on gay marriage in Washington state has qualified for the ballot.

The secretary of state's office announced Tuesday that Referendum 74 passed the signature-verification process that has been taking place since last week.

Sponsors turned in 247,331 signatures, far more than the minimum of 120,577 valid voter signatures required. A 3 percent random sample was done and of the 7,561 signatures that were sampled during the check, 6,877 were accepted and the rest were rejected.

The referendum seeks to overturn the measure allowing same-sex marriage in the state. That law was passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire earlier this year. The law was supposed to take effect last Thursday but was put on hold once the signatures were turned in last Wednesday.

Brian Zylstra with the Secretary of State's Offices said the Elections Division will conduct a full review of about 1,000 questionable signatures that were discovered last weekend. Before starting their 3 percent random sample test on Sunday, Election Division crews found about 50 petition sheets that they suspect may be fraudulent, Zylstra said. The signatures were mostly names of legitimate registered voters, but the signatures on the petitions did not match the signatures in the voter registration records.

The questionable petition sheets were set aside and did not affect the R-74 signature-check.

Zylstra said the Washington State Patrol has been asked to investigate the questionable signatures and take appropriate action. In previous cases, the patrol has investigated and then turned the information over to a county prosecutor. Once the Elections Division finishes its own investigation on the questionable signatures, it will turn them over to the State Patrol.

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