Sen. Pam Roch plans to introduce voter signature bill

State Sen. Pam Roach said Friday’s appellate-court ruling in favor of allowing a minimum-wage measure to go before SeaTac voters in November points up the importance of a change in state law she proposed earlier this year.

  • Thursday, September 12, 2013 6:17pm
  • Opinion

The following is a press release.

State Sen. Pam Roach said Friday’s appellate-court ruling in favor of allowing a minimum-wage measure to go before SeaTac voters in November points up the importance of a change in state law she proposed earlier this year.

“It was vividly illustrated this past week that the citizens’ initiative process would benefit enormously from the Valid Voter Signature Protection Act,” said Roach (R-Auburn). “A local initiative in SeaTac was almost derailed because perfectly valid voter signatures were not counted. Only after hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on lawyers and weeks of delay from multiple court challenges did voters who signed the petitions have their valid signatures counted.”

Roach, who is chairwoman of the Senate Governmental Operations Committee, first introduced the idea in 2010 as Senate Bill 6752 and brought it back for 2013 as Senate Bill 5505, working tirelessly to pass this important legislation.

“Even though it has broad bipartisan support the Valid Voter Signature Protection Act has not made it through the legislative process yet, despite my best efforts. It was passed unanimously by my committee this session but was not allowed a floor vote. And unfortunately, there has been no action taken on it by the House of Representatives.

“Whether a voter has signed a liberal initiative or a conservative initiative should not matter — a valid voter signature is a valid voter signature and it deserves to count,” Roach said. “What happened in SeaTac also happened in Vancouver with a local initiative, when local officials threw out perfectly valid voter signatures and it took a costly, time-consuming court case to find justice.”

In both instances, Roach said, the voters’ signatures were rejected not because the signers were not registered or because they lived outside the voting district — it was because they inadvertently signed the petition more than once and had all their signatures thrown out.

Thanks to a 1977 Supreme Court ruling, she explained, state law requires that for state initiatives, the original voter signature must count and duplicate signatures be rejected.

“Absurdly, at the local initiative level, state law requires that all the signatures, including the original, from a voter be rejected. That ends up leaving these voters completely disenfranchised. The rules should be the same for both state initiatives and local initiatives.

“I will hold another hearing on my bill, the Valid Voter Signature Protection Act, in 2014 and will again ask my colleagues to approve it. This issue has reached critical mass and deserves unanimous support and the governor’s signature,” Roach said, adding that she hopes newspaper editorial boards will apply pressure by weighing in on the issue.

Roach said SB 5505 will be the first bill to move forward from her committee during the 2014 session. “It is long past time for this common-sense reform to become law.”

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in Opinion

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at
Reasons to ban Gov. Jay Inslee’s natural gas ban | Brunell

Column: Switching from natural gas to electricity is complicated and will impact everyone.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact
Can a Texas-style abortion law happen in Washington? | Roegner

If politicians really want to anger women voters, the easiest way is… Continue reading

LtE bug
Powering the future and doing away with landfills

Here’s how we can reduce waste and generate power at the same time.

LtE bug
Thankful for our community

Enumclaw stepped up.

LtE bug
Crimes by illegal immigrants are 100 percent preventable

Shannon’s column told it like it is.

LtE bug
Responses to letter writers, columnists

Thoughts on the many letter writers in the recent edition of the Courier-Herald.

Carol Spell, "Education, Appreciation and Action"
The gift of education | Education, Appreciation, and Action

Four goals of education: Knowledge, wisdom, spiritual perception, and eloquent speech.

Rich Elfers, “In Focus”
Are mandated vaccinations constitutional?

Personal opinion and emotion do not have the force of law.

LtE bug
Thank you for caring about Philip

A short thank you for those who looked after us.

Most Read