By Lane Gwinn
The Times 

Library petition fails to meet signature requirement


COLUMBIA COUNTY—On June 21, 2023, Jessica Ruffcorn submitted a petition to dissolve the Columbia County Rural Library District to the Columbia County Auditor’s Office. The auditor’s office began the process of verifying the signatures on June 22. Addresses and signatures were compared to those stored on the Secretary of State’s official voter information database. Voters can register, update, and verify their voter information on the official database at

In a letter to the Rural Library District Board Chair, dated June 27, 2023, County Auditor Will Hutchens states the petition did not meet the ten percent threshold for sufficiency as referenced in RCW 27.12.320.

The petition consisted of 16 pages, with 20 lines for signatures. According to the auditor’s letter, there were 38 blank lines, resulting in 282 signatures to be verified.

After completing the canvassing process, the office found 101 valid signatures. These are signatures from voters registered in the unincorporated areas of Columbia County.

The remaining 181 signatures were deemed ineligible for the following reasons:

144 signers were registered to vote in the City of Dayton.

9 signers were registered to vote in the Town of Starbuck.

15 were not registered to vote in Columbia County.

9 did not match the signatures on record.

2 were duplicates.

1 was not legible.

1 was not signed in person.

As of June 22, 2023, the number of active voters residing in the unincorporated areas of Columbia County was 1062. To meet the ten percent threshold, the petition would need at least 107 valid signatures from qualified voters. According to the letter from the auditor’s office, the petition had 101 valid signatures and failed to meet the threshold of sufficiency.


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