On August 10, 2006, the governor received an appeal from Rhys Sterling relating to the office of the secretary of state's denial of a petition to add a new rule. The governor's office denied Mr. Karp's Petition on September 19, 2006.
September 19, 2006
P.O. Box 218
Hobart, WA 98025-0218
Re: Petition Concerning RCW 4.34 and 4.35 and the Secretary of State's Petition Denial
Dear Mr. Sterling:
This letter is in response to your petition to Governor Gregoire, dated August 10, 2006, requesting that the Governor consider a new rule requiring a "none of the above" option for party affiliation designation on a consolidated primary ballot. You initially petitioned for the inclusion of this option to the Secretary of State. That petition was denied and, in turn, you have now petitioned the Governor in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).
While the APA authorizes the Governor to consider petitions appealing decisions by any state agency, including the Office of the Secretary of State, RCW 34.05.010(2), 34.05.330(3), the Governor lacks jurisdiction to address the merits of your petition under the APA. The Governor may not consider a petition regarding an agency's denial to adopt a new rule. RCW 34.05.330(3). Notwithstanding your stated intent to amend the election rules regarding ballot format, your petition failed to cite a single specific Washington Administrative Code (WAC) Section that you wished to amend (or otherwise repeal). Instead, it referred to your desire to include an option on the consolidated primary ballot not currently addressed directly in the WAC. Therefore, your petition involves the adoption of a new rule and not the amendment of an existing one.
Please rest assured that the Governor recognizes the importance of ballot secrecy in our electoral process. She is confident that state auditors can establish protocols that will protect voter privacy. Please note that during the 2006 legislative session, the Legislature discussed the issue of whether to include a "none of the above" option on a consolidated primary ballot and declined to pass the bill. See House Bill 2484, 2006 Legislative Session.
The Governor appreciates your commitment to ensuring the protection of our election system and encourages you to continue to work with your local representative on this issue.