WSR 05-21-137



(Elections Division)

[ Filed October 19, 2005, 10:26 a.m. , effective October 19, 2005 ]

Purpose: Chapter 243, Laws of 2005, states that the Secretary of State is to consult with state and local law enforcement or document examiners to develop guidelines for signature verification processes. The Secretary of State has worked closely with the Washington State Patrol to fulfill this requirement. This rule making implements the signature verification techniques recommended by the Washington State Patrol.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 434-379-020.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 29A.04.611 and 29A.04.530.

Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.

Reasons for this Finding: These new signature verification standards must be in effect for the November 8, 2005, General election. County election staffs have received training on these standards.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Date Adopted: October 19, 2005.

Steve Excell

Assistant Secretary of State


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-12-116, filed 5/31/05, effective 7/1/05)

WAC 434-379-020   Signature verification standard.   A signature on a petition sheet ((will)) must be matched to the signature on file in the voter registration records. ((A signature is considered a match if at least three of the following criteria are met:

(1) The capital letters match;

(2) Letters tail off alike;

(3) Letter spacing is the same;

(4) The space between the signature and the line is the same;

(5) The beginning and ending of the signature and the slant are consistent;

(6) Unique letters in the signature match;

(7) The overall appearances match.

In determining whether a signature matches the signature in the registration file, the age of the voter and the date of the signature on the registration file may also be considered.)) The following characteristics must be utilized to evaluate signatures to determine whether they are by the same writer:

(1) Agreement in style and general appearance, including basic construction, skill, alignment, fluency, and a general uniformity and consistency between signatures;

(2) Agreement in the proportions of individual letters, height to width, and heights of the upper to lower case letters;

(3) Irregular spacing, slants, or sizes of letters that are duplicated in both signatures;

(4) After considering the general traits, agreement of the most distinctive, unusual traits of the signatures.

A single distinctive trait is insufficient to conclude that the signatures are by the same writer. There must be a combination or cluster of shared characteristics. Likewise, there must be a cluster of differences to conclude that the signatures are by different writers.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 29A.04.611 and 43.07.120. 05-12-116, 434-379-020, filed 5/31/05, effective 7/1/05.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office