ELECTION OF COMMISSIONERS IN PUBLIC HOSPITAL DISTRICTS.
All voters in a public hospital district vote for all candidates for commissioner, irrespective of the district represented.
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December 13, 1951
Honorable Robert S. Campbell, Jr.
Ephrata, Washington Cite as: AGO 51-53 No. 192
Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of December 5, 1951, in which you ask our opinion as to whether electors of a hospital district vote on all the candidates running for election or whether the electors vote only at the final election for the candidates who are running from that particular section.
It is our conclusion that the electors vote upon all of the candidates and are not confined to voting upon candidates from their particular section.
Elections for hospital district commissioners are governed by section 5, chapter 264, Laws of 1945 as last amended by § 1, chapter 229, Laws of 1947 (Rem. 1947 Supp. § 6090-34) which reads:
"The provisions of chapter 1, Laws of 1931 (Rem. Rev. Stat., § 11605 et seq.), relating to elections, vacancies, procedures of the commission and boundaries and consolidation of public utility districts shall govern public hospital districts created under this act: Provided, [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] That the total vote cast upon the proposition to form the district shall exceed forty per cent (40%) of the total number of votes cast in the precincts comprising the district at the next preceding general state and county election, and: Provided, That Public Hospital District Commissioners shall hold office for the term of six (6) years and until their respective successors are elected and qualified, each term to commence on the second Monday in January in each year following the election thereto. At the same election at which the proposition is submitted to the voters as to whether a Public Hospital District shall be formed, three (3) commissioners shall be elected to hold office, respectively, for the term of two (2), four (4) and six (6) years. All candidates shall be voted upon by the entire Public Hospital District and the candidate residing in commissioner district number one receiving the highest number of votes in the Public Hospital District shall hold office for the term of six (6) years; and the candidate residing in commissioner district number two receiving the highest number of votes in the Public Hospital District shall hold office for the term of four (4) years; and the candidate residing in commissioner district number three receiving the highest number of votes in the Public Hospital District shall hold office for the term of two (2) years, each of said terms to date from the times specified in this section following the election, but also to include the period intervening between the election and the beginning of the regular terms specified in this section." (Emphasis supplied)
The statute specifically prescribes that all candidates shall be voted upon by the entire district. We believe this provision is not confined to the first election but applies equally to all elections. It is consistent with the practice for electing county commissioners in the final election. Commissioners of public hospital districts are required to reside in certain districts. However, there is no requirement that only the voters of those districts shall vote for the candidates.
[[Orig. Op. Page 3]]
It is, therefore, our opinion that all of the voters in a public hospital district shall vote for all candidates whether residing within the same district as the voter or not.
Very truly yours,
LYLE L. IVERSEN
Assistant Attorney General