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AGO 1952 No. 332 - June 26, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington


Clerks in second and third class cities may establish branch offices for registration and may use volunteer deputies for that purpose.

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                                                                   June 26, 1952

Honorable Earl Coe
Secretary of State
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 332

Dear Sir:

            Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of May 29, 1952, in which you request our opinion on the following:

            "1. May clerks of 2nd and 3rd class cities deputize volunteer workers for the purpose of registering voters at temporary locations within the respective city limits but at locations outside the city clerk's offices?

            "2. If your answer to the above question is in the affirmative ‑ may the volunteer workers use a trailer for temporary headquarters and in such manner offer registration facilities throughout the city?"

            It is our conclusion that the clerks of second and third class cities may deputize volunteer workers for the purpose of registering voters at temporary locations which may be regarded as branches of the clerks' offices.  We know of no reason why a trailer could not be used as a branch office of the city clerk's office for the purpose of offering registration facilities throughout the city.

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]


            Within the limits of municipal corporations registration is handled by the city clerks.  RCW 29.07.100 (§ 1, chapter 68, Laws of 1947) provides:

            "Registration officers in incorporated cities and towns shall keep their respective offices open for registration of voters during the days and hours when the same are open for the transaction of public business:  Provided, That in cities of the first class, the governing body, may by ordinance direct that in all, or certain, of the voting precincts therein, the registration files shall be kept open for the registration of voters at such places, and on such day or days, as shall be designated, and the registration officer of the city shall cause the registration files to be kept open for the registration of voters at the places and on the days so designated between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., in charge of a deputy appointed by him."

            It will be noted that the section just quoted is specific authority for clerks in first class cities to provide for registration in the precincts.  Since there is no provision in the statute for such registration for cities of other classes, this statute is not authority for the precinct registration in those cities.  However, there is nothing in the statutes which defines the location of the office of the city clerk in any class of city.  If the clerk sees fit to divide his office into several branches there is nothing in the general statutes that would prevent that, nor do the general statutes prohibit a branch of the clerk's office from being portable, as in a trailer.

            The matter of deputizing persons to handle such registration must be in accordance with statutes and ordinances relative to the appointment of deputy clerks for the particular class of city.  However, we know of no requirement in the law that would prevent the deputizing of non-salaried [[*sic (nonsalaried)]]volunteers for this purpose. that would prevent the deputizing of non-salaried volunteers for this purpose.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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