House approves Pike’s bill allowing duplicate signatures on a petition to be counted once


Feb. 13, 2014

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House approves Pike’s bill allowing duplicate signatures on a petition to be counted once

The House of Representatives gave unanimous approval Wednesday to a measure that would require duplicate signatures on city and county petitions to be counted once, rather than thrown out completely. House Bill 2296 was introduced by Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, and is a result of a Cowlitz County Superior Court decision in April 2013.

“This involved petitions circulated to stop the city of Vancouver from spending money for a Columbia River Crossing light-rail component. Clark County would not accept the petitions, saying the effort fell just short for certification, primarily due to duplicate signatures that were invalidated, rather than being counted only one time,” explained Pike.

Pike noted the petitioners sued in the Cowlitz County Superior Court and won.

“It really brought to light the discrepancy between city/county petition signature laws and the state, because in the 1970s, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that for state petitions, any duplicate signatures on the petitions are counted once. That wasn’t the case, however, with the city and county election laws,” said Pike. “This legislation would bring city and county petition signatures into compliance with state law by making duplicate signatures count once, just as state initiative signatures are counted. It protects voters intentions on the petitions.”

Pike also pointed to the Washington’s Court of Appeals Division 1 decision in City of Seatac v Seatac Committee for Good Jobs in which it wrote:  “The court found the first amendment protects statutorily created initiative rights. Any burden on the exercise of these rights is subject to exacting scrutiny.  To guard against fraud and mistake, the state does not need to deny a voter who signs petitions more than once the right to have one signature counted.  Therefore, we hold the provision of RCW 35A.01.040(7) requiring the striking of all of a voter’s signatures unconstitutional.”

Pike’s measure was approved 98-0. After the vote, lawmakers congratulated Pike on her first bill to gain approval in the House.

Pike, who was first appointed to serve the 18th District in August 2012, won election later that year and is now in the second year of her first full term, has three other bills that have passed their respective committees and now await House floor action.

They include:

  • House Bill 2294 – would increase highway littering penalties from $50 to $125 by changing littering from a Class 3 infraction to a Class 2 infraction;
  • House Bill 2297 – would change public facilities to include roadway, traffic and way-finding signage; and
  • House Bill 2298 – would change the definition of capital projects to include technology infrastructure, allowing cities and counties to use capital project money to pay for necessary security and technology improvements in their new police and fire stations.

“I’m pleased to say each of these bills have bipartisan support and offer solutions to keep our highways clean, promote tourism and economic development, and would give more flexibility to our local governments. I’m hopeful and optimistic we can move these measures through the House before the floor deadline next Tuesday, February 18,” she added.

The 2014 regular session is more than halfway complete, scheduled to finish on March 13.

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