Elections

Pierce County voters weigh in on five proposed charter amendments

Pierce County voters want to ban dual office-holding by county officials, but they don’t want to lower the bar on what it takes to place a countywide initiative or referendum on the ballot.

Five proposed county charter amendments gave voters a chance to tweak Pierce County’s governing document.

An elected, nonpartisan Charter Review Commission put four of the questions to voters: the ban on dual office-holding, two questions on ballot measure signature requirements and a fourth to add some breathing room to the timeline for reviewing an official county referendum ballot title

A fifth, raising the dollar threshold for competitive bidding on county construction projects, was added by the County Council.

Here’s how the answers to the charter amendment questions were shaping up in vote counts Tuesday:

▪ Amendment No. 41: Reduce the minimum number of signatures required to validate a Pierce County initiative petition from 10 percent of votes cast in the last election for county executive to 8 percent of votes cast. It was failing Tuesday.

▪ Amendment No. 42: Reduce the minimum number of signatures required to validate a Pierce County referendum petition from 8 percent of the votes cast in the last election for county executive to 4 percent. It also was failing Tuesday.

▪ Amendment No. 43: Increase from 10 to 15 the number of business days allowed for the prosecuting attorney to review a referendum. During the same 15 days, the prosecuting attorney must notify the referendum proponent if the referendum is not legal. The amendment allows a judge to award referendum sponsors legal fees if they prevail in a court challenge. The amendment was passing Tuesday.

▪ Amendment No. 44: Prohibit elected Pierce County officials from holding any other elected public office during their county term of office, other than political party precinct committee officer. It was passing Tuesday by a wide margin.

The proposal arose after state Sen. Pam Roach, R-Sumner, decided to run for County Council. She initially said she might hold on to her Senate seat if she won the county race, but later reversed her position and said she wouldn’t occupy both posts simultaneously. She was losing in Tuesday election returns.

▪ Amendment No. 45: Remove the $25,000 threshold for competitive bidding on county construction projects; require competitive bidding when mandated by state or county law.

It passed. The change will allow county employees to complete more projects, according to county officials.

Debbie Cafazzo: 253-597-8635, @DebbieCafazzo

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