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June 8, 2012 at 6:00 AM

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DISCUSS: Sen. Adam Kline and the exposure of illegal immigrants

Corrected version

State Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, has resigned from the state’s Sunshine Committee (officially the “Public Records Exemptions Accountability Committee”), saying that it is stacked in favor of disclosure rather than privacy.

The specific issue that tipped his hand had to do with people called to jury duty. Some people get out of jury duty by saying they are not citizens. But the summonses to jury duty are mailed out to registered voters, holders of driver's licenses and state IDs. Holders of drivers' licenses and IDs may be citizens or legal resident aliens. But for those summons sent out to voters, an answer "I'm not a citizen." is an admission of something illegal. If you are a citizen, you are lying to avoid jury duty. If you are not a citizen, you are an illegally registered voter.

These replies are not made public. The Freedom Foundation proposed to the Sunshine Committee that jury forms should be made public. Kline objected. The “purpose of this item,” he wrote in his letter of resignation, “is to create a public scandal about illegal aliens serving on Washington juries, and use it to advance legislation to require photo identification for voters and/or legislation requiring citizenship for drivers’ licenses. Both types of legislation have been introduced in the Legislature in recent years and both are the subjects of national campaigns whose purpose is to disenfranchise citizen voters who (not at all incidentally) tend to vote Democratic, and to further a xenophobic campaign against immigrants generally.”

The Freedom Foundation argues that Kline was wrong. Do you agree with them or with him?

Information in this blog post, originally published at 6 a.m., June 8, was corrected at 1:18 p.m., June 8. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that juror summonses are sent out only to registered voters.

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