Inslee provides his signature on Pike bill requiring duplicate signatures on petitions to be counted once

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Inslee provides his signature on Pike bill requiring duplicate signatures on petitions to be counted once

Gov. Jay Inslee today signed a bill by 18th District State Rep. Liz Pike that requires duplicate signatures on city and county petitions to be counted once, rather than thrown out completely.

Pike, R-Camas, introduced House Bill 2296 to bring city and county petition laws up to the same standards as state law, and to protect Washington voters' rights when their intent is to sign a petition on initiatives and referendums. She noted the problem with local petitions came to light following a Cowlitz County Superior Court decision in April 2013.

“The case 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,” said Pike. “The petitioners sued in the Cowlitz County Superior Court, saying those petitions must be accepted. They won the case.”

Pike said several courts, including the Washington State Supreme Court and the state Court of Appeals have upheld that duplicate signatures on a petition must be counted once and that the striking of all signatures from a single voter is unconstitutional.

“It happens frequently that voters are approached in a public place to sign a petition and they may have forgotten that they had previously signed the same thing. There's no fraudulent intent on their part. The county auditor checks all signatures very closely to authenticate them. Just because there are duplicate signatures doesn't mean they should all be invalidated,” noted Pike. “My legislation brings 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 and upholds the spirit of the state constitution.”

The measure takes effect June 11.



Washington State House Republican Communications