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Effort to reverse transgender bathroom rule falls short of needed signatures to get on ballot

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Voters won’t see a ballot measure in November that seeks to undo Washington’s transgender bathroom rule.

A group seeking the initiative canceled its Friday appointment to turn in signatures, which was the deadline to turn them in.

The group, Just Want Privacy, was gathering signatures in an effort to reverse a 2015 state regulation that guarantees people access to bathrooms and locker rooms according to the gender with which they identify.

The state says the rule issued by the state Human Rights Commission didn’t introduce a new right but clarified a 2006 law barring sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination.

Just Want Privacy argues the rule could be used as a shield for sexual predators to enter those places and harm women and children — actions that are already unlawful.

The group also failed to collect enough signatures last year. In a statement Friday, the group said it had gathered 240,000 signatures this year, an improvement over a similar effort in 2016.

The Washington Secretary of State’s Office said the last time there were no initiatives or referendums on a general election ballot was 1983.