Serving Waitsburg, Dayton and the Touchet Valley

Prop 2 temporarily blocked from ballot

COLUMBIA COUNTY–In an emergency hearing on Wednesday September 6, 2023, the Columbia Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the County from printing ballots for the November general election that include Proposition 2.

Neighbors United for Progress asked the court for a fourteen-day TRO, citing irreparable harm to voters should the rural library district dissolution measure be placed on the ballots.

A lawsuit filed by NUP on August 29, 2023, asserts that City of Dayton voters would be denied constitutional voter and taxation representation protection guaranteed under the Washington and U.S. Constitutions should Proposition 2 be on the ballot. The suit says the dissolution statute under Washington State law is unconstitutional as applied. Plaintiffs also claim the proposition’s sponsors misrepresented the purpose and effect of the measure when soliciting petition signatures.

Columbia County Prosecutor Dale Slack stated that the County has been following the law as written. Slack requested an opinion on the constitutionality of excluding city residents from voting on the dissolution measure. The AG’s office responded with an informal opinion that only unincorporated voters could be heard on the matter. The office did not address the constitutionality of the law as applied.

Slack said the County could not make that determination and will wait for the court’s decision. He said the County does not want to go forward with a vote that will be unconstitutional, but does not have the authority to make that call-- only a court does.

The next hearing is scheduled for September 20, 2023.


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