Bill would address problems with recent light rail petition

Legislators introduced a bill today that would settle the argument about whether duplicate signatures on a Vancouver light rail petition should be invalidated along with their original signatures.

Earlier this month, Clark County officials invalidated the signatures of 19 people on a petition calling for a public vote on light rail. They basically said that if a person signs a petition more than once, then none of their signatures count. That ruling meant the petition, which was very close to having enough signatures, had failed.

Light-rail opponents argued that it was fair to toss out a person’s duplicate signature, but it wasn’t fair to toss out their original signature along with it.

State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, has asked the state attorney general’s office to provide an informal opinion on the matter.

Senate Bill 5505, introduced by Republican Pam Roach, of Auburn, would essentially side with the light-rail opponents on this issue. It changes current law from this:

“Signatures, including the original, of any person who has signed a petition two or more times shall be stricken.”

To this:

“Signatures of any person who has signed a petition two or more times shall have the original signature count and any duplicate signature shall not count and will be stricken.”

The bill also would put a 60-day time limit on the petition-validating process.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or or or

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