CERTIFICATION OF ENROLLMENT
SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2319
1992 Regular Session
Passed by the House March 9, 1992
Yeas 96 Nays 0
Speaker of the
House of Representatives
Passed by the Senate March 6, 1992
Yeas 44 Nays 0
I, Alan Thompson, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2319 as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.
President of the Senate
Approved Place Style On Codes above, and Style Off Codes below.
Governor of the State of Washington
Secretary of State
State of Washington
SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2319
AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE
Passed Legislature - 1992 Regular Session
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1992 Regular Session
By House Committee on State Government (originally sponsored by Representatives McLean, Anderson, R. Fisher, Chandler, Winsley, J. Kohl, Bowman and Pruitt)
Read first time 01/31/92.
AN ACT Relating to election administration; adding new sections to chapter 43.07 RCW; adding new sections to chapter 36.22 RCW; adding a new chapter to Title 29 RCW; creating a new section; and providing an effective date.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. A new section is added to chapter 43.07 RCW to read as follows:
The secretary of state shall establish a division of elections within the office of the secretary of state and under the secretary's supervision. The division shall be under the immediate supervision of a director of elections who shall be appointed by the secretary of state and serve at the secretary's pleasure.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 43.07 RCW to read as follows:
The secretary of state, through the division of elections, is responsible for the following duties, as prescribed by Title 29 RCW:
(1) The filing, verification of signatures, and certification of state initiative, referendum, and recall petitions;
(2) The production and distribution of a state voters' and candidates' pamphlet;
(3) The examination, testing, and certification of voting equipment, voting devices, and vote-tallying systems;
(4) The administration, canvassing, and certification of the presidential primary, state primaries, and state general elections;
(5) The administration of motor voter and other voter registration and voter outreach programs;
(6) The training, testing, and certification of state and local elections personnel as established in section 5 of this act;
(7) The training of state and local party observers required by section 6 of this act;
(8) The conduct of postelection reviews as established in section 9 of this act; and
(9) Other duties that may be prescribed by the legislature.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. (1) The Washington state election administration and certification board is established and has the responsibilities and authorities prescribed by this chapter. The board is composed of the following members:
(a) The secretary of state or the secretary's designee;
(b) The state director of elections or the director's designee;
(c) Four county auditors appointed by the Washington state association of county auditors or their alternates who are county auditors designated by the association to serve as such alternates, each appointee and alternate to serve at the pleasure of the association;
(d) One member from each of the two largest political party caucuses of the house of representatives designated by and serving at the pleasure of the legislative leader of the respective caucus;
(e) One member from each of the two largest political party caucuses of the senate designated by and serving at the pleasure of the legislative leader of the respective caucus; and
(f) One representative from each major political party, as defined by RCW 29.01.090, designated by and serving at the pleasure of the chair of the party's state central committee.
(2) The board shall elect a chair from among its number; however, neither the secretary of state nor the state director of elections nor their designees may serve as the chair of the board. A majority of the members appointed to the board constitutes a quorum for conducting the business of the board. Chapter 42.30 RCW, the open public meetings act, and RCW 42.32.030 regarding minutes of meetings, apply to the meetings of the board.
(3) Members of the board shall serve without compensation. The secretary of state shall reimburse members of the board, other than those who are members of the legislature, for travel expenses in accordance with RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060. Members of the board who are members of the legislature shall be reimbursed as provided in chapter 44.04 RCW.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 4. (1) The secretary of state and the board created in section 3 of this act shall jointly adopt rules, in the manner specified for the adoption of rules under the administrative procedure act, chapter 34.05 RCW, governing:
(a) The training of persons officially designated by major political parties as elections observers under this title, and the training and certification of election administration officials and personnel;
(b) The policies and procedures for conducting election reviews under section 9 of this act; and
(c) The policies and standards to be used by the board in reviewing and rendering decisions regarding appeals filed under section 9 of this act.
The initial policies and standards adopted under (c) of this subsection shall be adopted concurrently with adoption of the initial policies and procedures adopted under (b) of this subsection.
(2) The board created in section 3 of this act shall review appeals filed under section 7 or 9 of this act. A decision of the board regarding such an appeal shall be supported by not less than a majority of the members appointed to the board. A decision of the board regarding an appeal filed under section 9 of this act concerning an election review conducted under that section is final. If a decision of the board regarding an appeal filed under section 7 of this act includes a recommendation that a certificate be issued, the certificate shall be issued by the secretary of state as recommended by the board.
(3) The board created in section 3 of this act may adopt rules governing its procedures.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. The secretary of state shall:
(1) Establish and operate, or provide by contract, training and certification programs for state and county elections administration officials and personnel and training programs for political party observers which conform to the rules for such programs established under section 4 of this act;
(2) Administer tests for state and county officials and personnel who have received such training and issue certificates to those who have successfully completed the training and passed such tests;
(3) Maintain a record of those individuals who have received such training and certificates; and
(4) Provide the staffing and support services required by the board created under section 3 of this act.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. A person having responsibility for the administration or conduct of elections, other than precinct election officers, shall, within eighteen months of undertaking those responsibilities or within eighteen months of the effective date of this section, whichever is later, receive general training regarding the conduct of elections and specific training regarding their responsibilities and duties as prescribed by this title or by rules adopted by the secretary of state under this title. Included among those persons for whom such training is mandatory are the following:
(1) Secretary of state elections division personnel;
(2) County elections administrators under section 12 of this act;
(3) County canvassing board members;
(4) Persons officially designated by each major political party as elections observers; and
(5) Any other person or group charged with election administration responsibilities if the person or group is designated by rule adopted by the secretary of state as requiring the training.
The secretary of state shall reimburse election observers in accordance with RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060 for travel expenses incurred to receive training required under subsection (4) of this section.
Neither this section nor section 5 of this act may be construed as requiring an elected official to receive training or a certificate of training as a condition for seeking or holding elective office or as a condition for carrying out constitutional duties.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 7. (1) A decision of the secretary of state to deny certification under section 5 of this act shall be entered in the manner specified for orders under the administrative procedure act, chapter 34.05 RCW. Such a decision shall not be effective for a period of twenty days following the date of the decision, during which time the person denied certification may file a petition with the secretary of state requesting the secretary to reconsider the decision and to grant certification. The petitioner shall include, in the petition, an explanation of the reasons why the initial decision is incorrect and certification should be granted, and may include a request for a hearing on the matter. The secretary of state shall reconsider the matter if the petition is filed in a proper and timely manner. If a hearing is requested, the secretary of state shall conduct the hearing within sixty days after the date on which the petition is filed. The secretary of state shall render a final decision on the matter within ninety days after the date on which the petition is filed.
(2) Within twenty days after the date on which the secretary of state makes a final decision denying a petition under this section, the petitioner may appeal the denial to the board created in section 3 of this act. In deciding appeals, the board shall restrict its review to the record established when the matter was before the secretary of state. The board shall affirm the decision if it finds that the record supports the decision and that the decision is not inconsistent with other decisions of the secretary of state in which the same standards were applied and certification was granted. Similarly, the board shall reverse the decision and recommend to the secretary of state that certification be granted if the board finds that such support is lacking or that such inconsistency exists.
(3) Judicial review of certification decisions shall be as prescribed under RCW 34.05.510 through 34.05.598, but shall be limited to the review of board decisions denying certification.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 8. An election review section is established in the elections division of the office of the secretary of state. Permanent staff of the elections division, trained and certified as required by section 6 of this act, shall perform the election review functions prescribed by section 9 of this act. The staff may also be required to assist in training, certification, and other duties as may be assigned by the secretary of state to ensure the uniform and orderly conduct of elections in this state.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 9. (1)(a) The election review staff of the office of the secretary of state shall conduct a review of election-related policies, procedures, and practices in an affected county or counties:
(i) If the unofficial returns of a primary or general election for a position in the state legislature indicate that a mandatory recount is likely for that position; or
(ii) If unofficial returns indicate a mandatory recount is likely in a state-wide election or an election for federal office.
Reviews conducted under (ii) of this subsection shall be performed in as many selected counties as time and staffing permit. Reviews conducted as a result of mandatory recounts shall be performed between the time the unofficial returns are complete and the time the recount is to take place, if possible.
(b) In addition to conducting reviews under (a) of this subsection, the election review staff shall also conduct such a review in a county periodically after a county primary or special or general election at the direction of the secretary of state or at the request of the county auditor. If any resident of this state believes that an aspect of a primary or election has been conducted inappropriately in a county, the resident may file a complaint with the secretary of state. The secretary shall consider such complaints in scheduling periodic reviews under this section.
(c) Each county shall be reviewed under this section not less than once every four years. Before an election review is conducted in a county, the secretary of state shall provide the county auditor of the affected county and the chair of the state central committee of each major political party with notice that the review is to be conducted. When a periodic review is to be conducted in a county at the direction of the secretary of state under (b) of this subsection, the secretary shall provide the affected county auditor not less than thirty days' notice.
(2) Reviews shall be conducted in conformance with rules adopted under section 4 of this act. In performing a review in a county under this chapter, the election review staff shall evaluate the policies and procedures established for conducting the primary or election in the county and the practices of those conducting it. As part of the review, the election review staff shall issue to the county auditor and the members of the county canvassing board a report of its findings and recommendations regarding such policies, procedures, and practices. A review conducted under this chapter shall not include any evaluation, finding, or recommendation regarding the validity of the outcome of a primary or election or the validity of any canvass of returns nor does the election review staff have any jurisdiction to make such an evaluation, finding, or recommendation under this title.
(3) The county auditor of the county in which a review is conducted under this section or a member of the canvassing board of the county may appeal the findings or recommendations of the election review staff regarding the review by filing an appeal with the board created under section 3 of this act.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 10. The county auditor may designate any person who has been certified under this chapter, other than the auditor, to participate in a review conducted in the county under this chapter. Each county auditor and canvassing board shall cooperate fully during an election review by making available to the reviewing staff any material requested by the staff. The reviewing staff shall have full access to ballot pages, absentee voting materials, any other election material normally kept in a secure environment after the election, and other requested material. If ballots are reviewed by the staff, they shall be reviewed in the presence of the canvassing board or its designees. Ballots shall not leave the custody of the canvassing board. During the review and after its completion, the review staff may make appropriate recommendations to the county auditor or canvassing board, or both, to bring the county into compliance with the training required under this chapter, and the laws or rules of the state of Washington, to safeguard election material or to preserve the integrity of the elections process.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 11. The secretary of state shall establish within the elections division an election assistance and clearinghouse program, which shall provide regular communication between the secretary of state, local election officials, and major and minor political parties regarding newly enacted elections legislation, relevant judicial decisions affecting the administration of elections, and applicable attorney general opinions, and which shall respond to inquiries from elections administrators, political parties, and others regarding election information. This section does not empower the secretary of state to offer legal advice or opinions, but the secretary may discuss the construction or interpretation of election law, case law, or legal opinions from the attorney general or other competent legal authority.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 12. A new section is added to chapter 36.22 RCW to read as follows:
The county auditor of each county, as ex officio supervisor of all primaries and elections, general or special, within the county under Title 29 RCW, may appoint one or more well-qualified persons to act as assistants or deputies; however, not less than two persons of the auditor's office who conduct primaries and elections in the county shall be certified under chapter 29.-- RCW (sections 3 through 11 of this act) as elections administrators.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 13. A new section is added to chapter 36.22 RCW to read as follows:
Each deputy or assistant appointed under section 12 of this act shall have been graduated from an accredited high school or shall have passed a high school equivalency examination. Each shall be knowledgeable in the rules and laws of conducting elections.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 14. Sections 3 through 11 of this act shall constitute a new chapter in Title 29 RCW.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 15. Sections 5 through 13 of this act shall take effect July 1, 1993.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 16. If specific funding for the purposes of sections 5 through 13 of this act, referencing sections 5 through 13 of this act by bill and section number, is not provided by June 30, 1993, in the omnibus appropriations act, sections 5 through 13 of this act shall be null and void.