Citizens deserve the right to vote on Van Mall North Annexation Plan

I would like to share today, once again, about the Van Mall North Annexation Plan. As you know, I am of the opinion that this annexation plan should be voted on by the Clark County resident citizens that live in the area described in the plan. The number one plan offered by the state is the vote (RCW 35.13.015).

John Hallinen
John Hallinen

I have researched both the U.S. Constitution and the Washington State Constitution regarding suffrage. Washington State says in Article 1, Section 2 SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND. “The Constitution of the US is the supreme law of the land.” In Article 1, Section 19 FREEDOM OF ELECTIONS. “All elections shall be free and equal and no power civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.” The broad meaning of the term suffrage includes “not only the legal right to vote but also the practical question of whether a question will be put to a vote. The utility of suffrage is reduced when important questions are decided unilaterally by elected or non-elected representatives.”

Further, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states; “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Amendment XV, Section 1 says “The right of citizens of the US to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.”

The 26th Amendment declares, “The right of citizens of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of age.’’

We also see that the Declaration of Independence says the following: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …”

So we can see here clearly that we have a right to vote (freedom of speech) and to petition a government for a redress of grievances (protest annexation). This appears to make a “Utility Covenant” invalid as a tool to advocate for annexation as it not only takes away our vote but also our right to peacefully protest.

The state gives us the vote at the beginning of the annexation process (RCW 35.13.015). Why was it not used in place of the petition method (RCW 35.13.125). The citizens right to vote was abrogated. It appears that any annexation should not occur without a vote of the resident citizens and that the “Utility Covenant” should be declared illegal. The rights of the citizens to vote are unalienable rights. They cannot be taken away.

We are willing to abide by the vote. Please let us know when the voting will take place. Thank You.

John Hallinen
Vancouver

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