WSR 99-12-066

PERMANENT RULES

PUBLIC DISCLOSURE COMMISSION


[ Filed May 27, 1999, 2:04 p.m. ]

Date of Adoption: May 25, 1999.

Purpose: Amend the definition of "sample ballots" for purposes of RCW 42.17.640 (14)(a).

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 390-17-030 Sample ballots.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 42.17.370(1).

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 99-09-072 on April 19, 1999.

Changes Other than Editing from Proposed to Adopted Version: Clarifying language was added to the intent subsection emphasizing the commission's position that expenditures for all candidate listings, whether or not the listings are called slate cards, remain reportable under chapter 42.17 RCW and subject to the political advertising provisions of the law.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0. Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.

May 26, 1999

Vicki Rippie

Assistant Director

OTS-3017.3


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 96-05-001, filed 2/7/96, effective 3/9/96)

WAC 390-17-030
Sample ballots and slate cards.

(1) ((Sample ballot, as that term is used in RCW 42.17.640 (14)(a), means a printed list that includes a majority of all of the partisan offices on the ballot and that also may include ballot measures and nonpartisan races to be voted on at a particular primary, general or special election; all without promotion of or political advertising for specifically named individual candidates.

(2) A sample ballot shall not indicate the sponsor's preference for any specific candidate or candidates listed on the ballot.

(3) A sample ballot may contain a list of candidates, limited to the identification of the candidates (pictures may be used), the office or position currently held, the elective office sought and the party affiliation, as long as the same category of information is given for all candidates listed.  The list shall not include additional biographical data on candidates, their positions on political issues or statements on party philosophy.

(4) A sample ballot which meets the above criteria is not considered a contribution to any of the candidates listed in the ballot.)) Intent. The commission finds that, under certain conditions, expenditures for slate cards and other candidate listings fall within the scope of RCW 42.17.640 (14)(a) and are, therefore, exempt from contribution limits and eligible for payment with a bona fide political party's exempt funds. Slate cards and other candidate listings remain reportable under chapter 42.17 RCW and subject to the political advertising provisions of the law.

The purpose of this exemption from the contribution limits is to allow political parties and other sponsors to tell the general public which candidates they support. The exemption is not intended as a device to circumvent the contribution limits and full reporting requirements by undertaking any degree of significant campaigning on behalf of candidates.

(2) For purposes of RCW 42.17.640 (14)(a), "sample ballots" means slate cards, or other candidate listings, that satisfy the qualifying criteria specified in subsection (10) of this section.

(3) Sample ballots constitute political advertising for a slate or list of candidates and must be properly identified and otherwise in compliance with the political advertising provisions, RCW 42.17.505 through 42.17.550.

(4)(a) A bona fide political party may use contributions it receives pursuant to RCW 42.17.640(14) to design, print and distribute sample ballots.

(b) Expenditures for sample ballots do not count against a bona fide political party's contribution limit to the candidates listed on the sample ballot. Further, when reporting sample ballot expenditures, a bona fide political party is not required to attribute a portion of the expenditure to each of the candidates listed on the sample ballot, but the names of the candidates must be reported along with the other information required by chapter 42.17 RCW and chapter 390-17 WAC.

(5) Any person, as defined by RCW 42.17.020, who makes an expenditure for sample ballots has made an expenditure that does not count against that person's contribution limit to the candidates listed.

(6) An in-state political committee, when disclosing expenditures for sample ballots as part of its C-4 report, is not required to attribute a portion of the expenditure to the candidates listed on the sample ballot, but the names of the candidates and their respective party affiliations must be reported along with other information required by chapter 42.17 RCW and chapter 390-17 WAC.

(7) An out-of-state or federal committee, when disclosing expenditures for sample ballots on a C-5 report, is not required to allocate a portion of the expenditure to the candidates listed on the sample ballot, but must report that an expenditure for sample ballots was made, the name and address of the person to whom the expenditure was made, the full amount of the expenditure, and the name, office sought and party affiliation of each candidate listed on the sample ballot. The report is due within ten days of the date the sample ballot is received by recipients.

(8) If a lobbyist or lobbyist employer makes expenditures for sample ballots, those expenditures are required to be reported in detail on the lobbyist's monthly L-2 report. Itemization of these expenditures must include the names and respective party affiliations of the candidates listed on the sample ballot, but no portion of the expenditure need be allocated to individual candidates listed on the sample ballot.

(9) The candidates listed on a sample ballot are not required to report any portion of the expenditure as an in-kind contribution to their campaigns.

(10) Qualifying criteria for sample ballots, slate cards and other candidate listings. In order not to count against a person's contribution limit to the candidates listed on a sample ballot and, in the case of a bona fide political party, in order to be eligible for payment with contributions received pursuant to RCW 42.17.640(14), a sample ballot must satisfy all of the criteria in (a) through (d) of this subsection.

(a) The sample ballot must list the names of at least three candidates for election to public office in Washington state. That is, identify any combination of three or more candidates, whether the candidates are seeking federal, state or local office in Washington.

(b) The sample ballot must not be distributed through public political advertising; for example, through broadcast media, newspapers, magazines, billboards or the like. The sample ballot may be distributed through direct mail, electronic mail, Web sites, electronic bulletin boards, electronic billboards or personal delivery by volunteers.

(c) The content of a sample ballot is limited to:

The identification of each candidate (pictures may be used);

The office or position currently held;

The office sought;

Party affiliation; and

Information about voting hours and locations.

Therefore, the sample ballot must exclude any additional biographical data on candidates and their positions on issues as well as statements about the sponsor's philosophy, goals or accomplishments. The list must also exclude any statements, check marks or other indications showing support of or opposition to ballot propositions.

(d) The sample ballot is a stand-alone political advertisement. It must not be a portion of a more comprehensive message or combined in the same mailing or packet with any other information, including get-out-the-vote material, candidate brochures, or statements about the sponsor's philosophy, goals or accomplishments. On Web sites, electronic bulletin boards or electronic billboards, the sample ballot must be a separate document.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370(1).  96-05-001, 390-17-030, filed 2/7/96, effective 3/9/96.  Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370.  93-16-064, 390-17-030, filed 7/30/93, effective 8/30/93.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office