You don't have the right to vote on red light cameras, court rules

Mar 8, 2012

The Washington Supreme Court says voters do not have the right to vote on the use of red light cameras for traffic enforcement.  In a 5 to 4 ruling on a case involved a proposition on the ballot in the city of Mukilteo, the justices held that:

“Because the legislature expressly granted authority to the governing body of the city of Mukilteo to enact ordinances on the use of automated traffic safety cameras, the subject of Proposition 1 is not within the initiative power.”

In November 2010, Mukilteo voters approved Proposition 1 by a 70 percent margin. The Proposition had the backing of anti-tax activist Tim Eyman.

According to the Supreme Court ruling:

“Proposition 1 attempted to expressly restrict the authority of Mukilteo’s legislative body to enact red light cameras by requiring a two-thirds vote of the electorate for approval and by limiting the amount of traffic fines.  Because automated traffic safety cameras are not a propoer subject for local initiative power, Proposition 1 is invalid because it is beyond the initiative power.”

The court was sharply divided on the issue. Writing the dissent, Justice James Johnson argued that the vote on red light cameras was “advisory” and not subject to rules regarding initiatives.

On the Web:

... video that does drive home the message: