DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
[Filed October 24, 2018, 7:33 a.m., effective November 24, 2018]
Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.
Purpose: The director of agriculture is responsible for administering marketing order referenda under chapters 15.65
RCW and for administering elections for advisory votes and board member selection authorized in RCW 15.24.035
, and 16.67.060
. These rules set procedures for administrative functions for commodity commissions. Including statutory citations for those commissions established under statutes other than chapters 15.65
RCW clarify the director's responsibilities. Revising procedures for unsigned ballots will streamline and expedite the referendum and voting process.
Citation of Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 16-501-525.
Other Authority: Chapter 34.05
Adopted under notice filed as WSR 18-17-083 on August 14, 2018.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at the Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's own Initiative: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.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 24, 2018.
Derek I. Sandison
Procedural Rules for Administrative Function for Commodity Commissions Advisory Votes, Elections, and Referenda
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 05-08-078, filed 4/1/05, effective 5/2/05)
WAC 16-501-525Unsigned ballot envelopes: Advisory votes, referenda, and board member elections.
The director of the department of agriculture is responsible for administering marketing order referenda under chapters 15.65 and 15.66 RCW and for administering
elections for advisory votes((, marketing order referenda
)) and board member selection as ((required in chapters 15.65 and 15.66 RCW
))authorized in RCW 15.24.035, 15.26.060, 15.28.023, 15.44.021, 15.65.240, 15.66.113, 15.88.050, 15.89.050, 15.115.060, and 16.67.060
(1) The department will mail ballots to those eligible to vote in each election according to the terms of the applicable statute and marketing order. Each voter will be provided an official ballot, instructions for voting, a security envelope and return ballot-mailing envelope with a "Certificate of Eligibility" (certification) printed on the reverse side of the envelope.
(2) After casting ((its))a vote in the election, an eligible voter must place the ballot in the security envelope((. The security envelope is then to be)), which is then placed in the ballot-mailing return envelope with the certification on the reverse side. To validate ((its))his or her ballot, the voter is required to complete, sign and date the certification.
(3) In the event a ballot is submitted to the department and the certification is not signed and dated in accordance with the instructions contained on the outside of the ballot-mailing return envelope or the ballot is returned in a different envelope without a certification, the ((department shall process the ballot and the ballot-mailing return envelope as follows, if the department is able to ascertain the identity of the eligible voter from the envelope:
(a) The department will not open the ballot-mailing return envelope, but will make a copy of the reverse side of the ballot-mailing return envelope with the printed certification. The original ballot-mailing return envelope will be held by the department.
(b) The department will provide the eligible voter with a copy of the ballot-mailing return envelope with the certification and require the voter to sign the copy of the certification and mail it back to the department so that it is received not later than the date specified in the correspondence accompanying the certification.
(c) The department shall advise the voter about the correct procedures for completing the unsigned certification and that, in order for the ballot to be counted, the voter must sign and date the copy of the certification, and mail it back to the department so that it does not arrive later than the specified date.
(d) The signed certification must be received by the department within fourteen calendar days from the date the copy of the certification was mailed to the voter as evidenced by the United States mail date stamp, for the voter's ballot to be validated.
(e) If the department does not receive the signed certification with the requested information within the specified time frame, the original)) ballot-mailing envelope will not be opened nor will the ballot it contains be counted. The unopened ballot-mailing envelope will be set aside and retained in accordance with the appropriate records retention schedule.
(4) ((A record shall be kept of the date on which the department mailed the copy of the certification to the eligible voter, the date on which the voter signed the certification and the date that the department received the certification. That record will be retained in accordance with applicable records retention schedules for ballots.
(5))) Only validated ballots will be included in a ballot count.
(((6)))(5) This rule applies to referenda, advisory votes, elections, and runoffs required by statute ((that are conducted after the effective date of this rule. However, subsections (3) and (4) do not apply in an election once any election ballots have been counted or in a runoff election once any runoff election ballots have been counted.
(7) This rule does not apply if the recount period specified in the applicable statute has expired)).