Pike’s measure aims to help petitioners
If you sign a local petition more than once, your John Hancock will still count thanks to a measure recently signed by Gov. Jay Inslee.
House Bill 2296, sponsored by state Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, allows for the original signature to count on a petition, even if there are duplicates. The law takes effect in June.
In 2013, petitioners who were collecting signatures to prevent the city of Vancouver from spending any resources on light rail associated with the Columbia River Crossing found out they were a few dozen signatures shy of what they needed. Part of the reason for coming up short was some people had signed more than once. State law states “signatures, including the original, of any person who has signed a petition two or more times shall be stricken.”
Petitioners took the law to court and ultimately received a ruling in their favor from the Cowlitz County Superior Court. Pike’s bill was crafted in response to the ruling and to ensure that original signatures, not the duplicates, were counted on petitions, rather than tossed in the trash.
“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,” Pike said.
“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.”