Article 7 Initiative and Referendum

Section 7.1 Direct government

The people of Clark County reserve the power to make certain proposals at their option and to approve or reject them at the polls, independent of the council.


Section 7.2 Initiative

The people reserve the power of initiative. An ordinance or amendment to an ordinance, except as limited by state or federal law or court interpretation, may be proposed by filing an initiative petition with the auditor. No ordinance enacted as a result of initiative shall be amended or repealed within two (2) years after enactment, except as a result of a subsequent initiative or referendum or as required by state or federal law.

  1.  Initiative Limitations. The following are limited by state or federal law or court interpretations and may not be proposed or adopted by initiative.
    1. Ordinances providing for compensation or working conditions of county employees or elected officials.
    2. Redistricting council districts.
    3. Authorizing or repealing an appropriation of money or any portion of the annual budget.
    4. Authorizing or repealing taxes or fees.
    5. Authorizing or repealing any provision of a service or program provided by the county.
    6. 6. Amending or repealing this charter.
  2. Initiative Requirements.
    1. Initiatives that require new or additional sources of revenue shall include a recommended revenue source adequate to finance the result of the initiative.
  3. Initiative Procedures.
    1. Any registered voter of Clark County may file an initiative proposal with the auditor, who shall transmit a copy to the prosecuting attorney. Within ten (10) business days of the filing date, the prosecuting attorney shall formulate a true and impartial ballot title, posed as a positive question not exceeding fifty (50) words.
    2. The prosecuting attorney shall transmit the initiative petition to the auditor, who shall give the proposed initiative a number that will be the identifying number. Within an additional five (5) business days, the auditor shall confer with the petitioner to review and establish the form and style of the initiative petition as required by the auditor or ordinance. The prosecuting attorney shall evaluate the petition and provide the petitioner and auditor with the following statement: "In the opinion of the Clark County Prosecuting Attorney, the subject of this initiative is within the scope of local initiative powers. Yes [ ] No [ ] No opinion at this time [ ].” The prosecuting attorney shall mark the box that reflects his or her opinion. The petitioner may include this statement on the petition.
    3. The petitioner shall have one hundred twenty (120) days after conferring with the auditor to collect signatures of registered county voters. Valid signatures collected shall number no less than ten (10) percent of the number of votes cast in the county in the last gubernatorial election. Each petition shall contain the warning clause prescribed by state law, full text of the proposed measure, ordinance or amendment to an ordinance, and ballot title.
    4. The auditor shall verify the number of signatures on the petition, and, if a sufficient number of valid signatures has been submitted, place the proposal on the ballot for the next general election.
      1. Signatures on the petition must be submitted to the auditor no less than one hundred fifty (150) days before the date of the next general election.
      2. If the council enacts the proposal without change or amendment not less than sixty (60) days prior to said election, the proposal shall be removed from the ballot.
      3. If the council does not adopt the proposed measure but adopts a substitute measure not more than fifteen (15) days after petition validation, the substitute measure shall be placed on the same ballot with the initiative proposal.
    5. When a ballot contains an initiative petition, substitute measure or multiple initiative measures on the same topic, the voters shall be given the choice of rejecting or accepting each initiative.
      1. If the voters accept more than one (1) initiative on the same topic, and the measures are incompatible, the initiative receiving the highest number of affirmative votes shall be approved.
      2. If there are multiple measures on the same topic, compatible with one another, they may all be approved.
      3. If the voters reject all initiatives, none shall be approved.
      4. If the voters approve one (1) initiative and reject the others, the approved initiative shall be approved.


Section 7.3 Mini-initiative

The people reserve the power of mini-initiative, except as limited by state or federal law and subject to Article 7, Section 2(A). Ordinances or amendments to an existing ordinance may be proposed to the council by transmitting the proposal to the auditor. An initiative petition shall bear signatures of qualified voters totaling no less than three (3) percent of the number of votes cast in the county in the last gubernatorial election. The auditor shall have thirty (30) business days to validate signatures. If a sufficient number of signatures is verified, the auditor shall transmit the initiative petition to the county council. The council shall hold a public hearing on the proposed ordinance within sixty (60) days, and enact, reject or modify the proposed ordinance within thirty (30) calendar days of the hearing.


Section 7.4 Referendum

The people reserve the power of referendum. Referendum may be ordered on any ordinance, or any part thereof, passed by the council, except as limited by state or federal law or court interpretations.

  1. Referendum Limitations. The following ordinances are limited by state or federal law or court interpretations and are not subject to referendum:
    1. Emergency ordinances.
    2. Ordinances providing for compensation or working conditions of county employees or elected officials.
    3. Ordinances authorizing or repealing an appropriation of money or any portion of the annual budget.
    4. Ordinances authorizing or repealing taxes or fees.
    5. Ordinances required by state or federal law.
  2. B. Referendum Procedure. A referendum shall be filed within ten (10) days after the council passes an ordinance. Except as set forth in this section, a referendum may be filed against an ordinance or any portion of an ordinance. Any registered Clark County voter may file with the auditor a referendum petition signed by at least one hundred (100) registered voters of Clark County.
    1. The auditor shall verify signatures on the referendum petition within ten (10) calendar days. After one hundred (100) signatures are validated, the ordinance or portion of the ordinance subject to referendum is suspended until:
      1. Sufficient valid signatures are collected within the time prescribed by this section to place the measure on the ballot and voters have voted on the measure.
      2. Valid signatures are not collected within the time prescribed by this section to place the measure on the ballot.
    2. Filing a referendum petition against a portion of an ordinance shall not delay the remainder of the ordinance from taking effect.
    3. Within five (5) business days of filing the referendum petition, the auditor shall confer with the petitioner to review the proposal as to form and style, as required by the auditor or ordinance. The auditor shall give the referendum petition an identifying number and transmit a copy of the petition to the prosecuting attorney. Within ten (10) business days after receipt, the prosecuting attorney shall write a ballot title not to exceed fifty (50) words and posed as a positive question, which shall express a true and impartial statement of the measure. The prosecuting attorney shall transmit the referendum petition to the auditor.
    4. The petitioner shall have one hundred twenty (120) calendar days from registration to collect signatures of registered Clark County voters. The number of valid signatures collected shall equal no less than ten (10) percent of the total votes cast in the county in the last gubernatorial election. Each petition shall contain the full text of the referred measure and ballot title. The auditor shall verify the number of signatures on the petition and, if valid, submit the measure to voters at the next general election. Petition signatures must be submitted to the auditor for verification no less than one hundred fifty (150) calendar days before the date of the next general election


Section 7 .5 Recall

The people reserve the power of recall, as provided in the constitution and laws of the state of Washington.