October 10, 1995 in City

Ruling Upholds Cityvote Election

By The Spokesman-Review
 

A court fight over CityVote, the presidential straw poll, probably will be dropped in Spokane because a similar challenge failed in Olympia.

A Thurston County judge denied Monday a request by the state Democratic Party to keep Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater from participating in the straw poll.

Paul Berendt, state party chairman, said he does not expect an appeal and the party likely will drop similar motions in Spokane and Pierce counties.

Larry Agran, executive director of the project, said he is pleased with the ruling.

“I think it’s a vindication for the three cities involved, for the First Amendment and for the right to vote,” Agran said.

David Vogel, an attorney for the party, had argued that cities have the authority to place the names of candidates for office on a ballot or to place issues before the voters. CityVote is neither, he said.

But Judge Christine Pomeroy sided with municipal attorneys who argued Washington cities have broad authority to control their ballots. State law doesn’t expressly prohibit such straw polls, so city officials can place the names on the ballot if they choose, Pomeroy said.

Spokane officials have said they were relying on the same laws as Thurston County in adding the names to the Nov. 7 ballot.

Some 20 cities, including Coeur d’Alene; Moscow, Idaho; Tacoma; and Wenatchee will participate in the balloting.

A debate in Spokane on environmental issues is set for Oct. 22.

, DataTimes

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