ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE
Filed April 30, 2008,
NOTICE OF REQUEST FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OPINION
WASHINGTON ATTORNEY GENERAL
The Washington attorney general issues formal published
opinions in response to requests by the heads of state
agencies, state legislators, and county prosecuting attorneys.
When it appears that individuals outside the attorney
general's office have information or expertise that will
assist in the preparation of a particular opinion, a summary
of that opinion request will be published in the state
register. If you are interested in commenting on a request
listed in this volume of the register, you should notify the
attorney general's office of your interest by May 28, 2008.
This is not the due date by which comments must be received.
However, if you do not notify the attorney general's office of
your interest in commenting on an opinion request by this
date, the opinion may be issued before your comments have been
received. You may notify the attorney general's office of
your intention to comment by calling (360) 664-3027, or by
writing to the Office of the Attorney General, Solicitor
General Division, Attention James Pharris, Deputy Solicitor
General, P.O. Box 40100, Olympia, WA 98504-0100. When you
notify the office of your intention to comment, you may be
provided with a copy of the opinion request in which you are
interested; information about the attorney general's opinion
process; information on how to submit your comments; and a due
date by which your comments must be received to ensure that
they are fully considered. If you are interested in receiving
notice of new formal opinion requests via e-mail, you may
visit the attorney general's web site at
www.atg.wa.gov/AGOOpinions/default.aspx for more information
on how to join our Opinions ListServ.
The attorney general's office seeks public input on the
following opinion request(s):
Opinion Docket No. 08-04-05
Request by Honorable Andrew Miller, Benton County Prosecutor
1. RCW 36.12.010, .020, and case law thereunder, appear
to indicate that it is the responsibility of the Board of
County Commissioners to determine if the petitions contain the
requisite number of valid signatures. Can that Board request
that the County Auditor, who ordinarily makes this type of
determination under other circumstances and who is trained and
equipped to do so, make this determination on behalf of the
2. Is the person submitting the petitions entitled to
observe the canvassing of the signatures?
3. Is there any limit to how old a signature reflected on
a petition may be and still be valid?
4. After petitions have been submitted under RCW 36.12.010, can signatures be withdrawn or additional
petitions/signatures be submitted prior to the completion of
the canvassing of the signatures?
5. If petitions are submitted immediately prior to a
general election (e.g., prior to the November 2008 general
election) and the signatures cannot be canvassed prior to such
general election, is it the number of votes cast in the last
general election before the petitions are filed (e.g. the
November 2006 general election) or the last general election
before the signatures are canvassed (e.g., the November 2008
general election) that should be used to determine the number
of signatures required under RCW 36.12.020?
6. If it is determined that an insufficient number of
valid signatures have been submitted, must the county retain
the original petitions or return them to the person that
7. If it is determined that a sufficient number of valid
signatures have been submitted and an election is held, does
RCW 36.12.050 require that the Board of County Commissioners
canvass the election or can it request that the Canvassing
Board, comprised of the persons set forth under RCW 29A.60.140, canvass the election? For reference, you may want
to refer to State v. Whitney, 12 Wash. 420, 41 P. 189 (1895).
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