Group is attempting to gather signatures that would create an ordinance to put before Clark County Council
Proponents of a ban on mandates in Clark County that they believe cause discrimination based on someone’s health status, such as vaccination status, are making a final push to gather signatures on a petition by Sunday. The effort is to create an ordinance to put up for a vote by the Clark County Council.
Supporters of the effort have gathered more than 9,000 signatures as of Friday, more than the 8,311 needed to force the ordinance to go to the County Council. However, once the signatures are submitted, they will have to be verified by the Clark County Elections Department.
“We went over 8,500 on Wednesday, so we hit our total mark of signatures,’’ said organizer Rob Anderson. “They all have to be registered voters and there can’t be any duplicates. We’re going through a process of our own to make sure we have enough registered voters because you can only submit it once. We believe we will be submitting 11,000 or 12,000 signatures. We hope to submit later next week.’’
Anderson said he was told by Clark County Elections officials that no other effort to pass a mini-initiative has been successful previously in the county. He said there had been “two or three’’ previous efforts. He also said it could be the last successful effort considering recent amendments to the County Charter in the Nov. 2 general election.
The 8,311 signatures required reflect 3 percent of the registered voters who voted in the last governor’s race.
“It’s been amazing just how galvanizing this has been,’’ Anderson said. “The more we are out here, the more support we’ve got. The general comment people have made is ‘I’m vaccinated, but it should not be mandated.’ It should just be a free choice. That’s what this is all about.’’
The public launch of this effort took place at a rally on Oct. 9.
“To get this done in less than two months is pretty impressive, in my opinion,’’ Anderson said.
More than 4,000 Clark County residents signed a previous petition that stalled at the feet of the members of the County Council. County Chair Eileen Quiring O’Brien expressed support for the petition but she told Clark County Today if she made a formal motion she was confident she would not get a second from any of the other four members of the council. Proponents then created the second petition, which they refer to as a “mini-initiative.”
The summary statement on the petition reads as follows:
AN ORDINANCE prohibiting all mandates within Clark County that discriminate against citizens regarding their health status and or that violates existing rights to health information privacy.
After a 30-day window to validate the signatures, the Clark County Council will have 60 days to hold a public meeting, after which the councilors will have a 30-day time limit to make a decision.
“I believe in accountability,’’ Anderson said. “Politicians need to be accountable for where they stand, especially for something as important as this.’’
Once the signatures are submitted, Anderson said he will turn his focus to meeting with individual County Council members in an attempt to provide them information about the ordinance.
According to a letter stating support for the petition by Joel Mattila, chairman of the Clark County Republican Party, the effort is also supported by Rep. Vicki Kraft (17th District), 3rd Congressional District candidates Heidi St. John and Joe Kent, and Rey Reynolds, a veteran of 37 years in law enforcement who is currently with the Vancouver Police Department and a candidate for Clark County Sheriff.
More than 80 volunteers and proponents of the effort have now established more than 25 locations around Clark County where area residents can sign the petition.
To find a location to sign the petition, or to print a copy of the petition for signature, go to https://www.clarkcountygroup.com/home.