The Clark County Council this week approved two proposed amendments to the county charter be placed on the November 2021 general election ballot. Both measures relate to the charter’s language regarding initiative and referendum petitions.
One proposed amendment would clarify language regarding procedures for processing initiative, mini-initiative and referendum petitions. If approved by a majority of voters, this amendment would:
- Specify that the petition proposal must be filed with the Auditor;
- Clarify certain terms, such as “petition;”
- Specify when certain deadlines are triggered;
- Detail procedures for the Auditor to verify and canvass the names of the legal voters on the petition.
A second proposed amendment would change charter language regarding circumstances in which a proposed initiative or referendum applied exclusively to unincorporated Clark County. Specifically:
- The individual filing the initiative or referendum must be a registered voter residing in unincorporated Clark County.
- Signatures gathered in support of the initiative or referendum must be from registered voters residing in Clark County.
- Only those registered voters residing in unincorporated Clark County would be eligible to vote on the initiative or referendum.
The Clark County Charter allows the County Council to proposed amendments to the charter by enacting an ordinance to submit a proposed amendment to the voters at the next November general election occurring at least ninety days after enactment. A minimum of four affirmative votes of the council is required to enact such an ordinance. The council approved the related ordinances at its July 20, 2021, public hearing.
The approved ordinances and a recording of the public hearing are on the county website at https://clark.wa.gov/councilors/clark-county-council-meetings.
The Clark County Charter Review Commission also made recommended amendments to the county charter that will appear on the November general election ballot. Information on those proposed amendments are on the county’s website at https://clark.wa.gov/county-manager/meetings-agendas-archives.
Lindsey Shafar, senior policy analyst, County Manager’s Office