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Bill would fix dispute over county ballot titles

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Dec. 14, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
December 14, 2009 2:41 pm

Lakewood Democrat Tami Green and Tacoma Democrat Troy Kelley have pre-filed a bill to fix a gap in how local governments prepare ballot titles.

It emerged last year when supporters of term limits wanted to contest the way Pierce County attorneys had written the statement for a charter amendment extending term limits.

Opponents of Amendment No. 1 thought the statement was argumentative in support of the measure. But by the time they objected, the 10-day period to protest had passed.

Those same opponents said they had complained within 10 days of the deadline for filing the ballot title. But the law says objections must be filed within 10 days of the title’s completion. Since county lawyers beat the deadline by many days, the time to object had come and gone before most knew it had even been written.

So Green and Kelley would use House Bill 2405 to clarify that local government ballot titles can be objected to within 10 days of the filing deadline, regardless of how quickly county attorneys complete the work.

In the end, Amendment 1 failed badly, regardless of the ballot title, and Pierce County retained its two-term limit on office holders.

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