Pierce County Term Limit Amendment, 2009

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A Pierce County Term Limit Amendment, also known as Proposition 1, was on the November 3 ballot in Pierce County for county voters.

The measure failed.[1]

  • YES 53,302 (32.05%)
  • NO 113,006 (67.95%)Defeatedd

The amendment proposed moving the election of the county executive and council to odd-numbered years. Additionally the amendment proposed increasing term limits from 2 consecutive four-year term to 3 consecutive four-year terms. If approved, the election year change was expected to be in effect by 2015.[2]


Some, however, argued that despite the criticism made by Sherry Bockwinkel and Kelly Haughton in the lawsuit filed in August 2009, Proposition 1 does not have one but two subject lines: term limits, and odd-year elections. According to Julie Anderson, the current Deputy Mayor of the City of Tacoma and candidate for Pierce County Auditor, the two subjects are unrelated and only loosely tied by "the county executive and council."[3]

Court case

In August 2009, a lawsuit was filed regarding a ballot language challenge. The suit was filed by Sherry Bockwinkel, a term-limit supporter, and Kelly Haughton, a ranked choice voting supporter, in Pierce County Superior Court. Specifically, Haugton and Bockwinkel argue that the use of the words “approve” or “reject" is a departure from the more commonly used "yes" or "no" options and may cause confusion.[2][4]

As of September 1, 2009 a Pierce County Judge Ronald Culpepper dismissed the challenge to the ballot language describing proposed amendments to the Pierce County charter. According to Culpepper, Bockwinkel and Haughton failed to meet a deadline, a 10-day time frame, for challenging the ballot language. Both Bockwinkel said, Tuesday, that they are unlikely to appeal the judge's ruling but Haughton added that the judge's ruling was "bad public policy and that Culpepper used "procedural methods to protect a prejudicial ballot title."[5]

See also

Additional reading