Oregon Ballot Measure 32 (2008)

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Oregon Ballot Measure 32 would have created a new Oregon state statute (not a constitutional amendment) requiring the Oregon Secretary of State to scrutinize every signature turned in on ballot initiatives, rather than the current method of random sampling. The measure did not make the November 4, 2008 ballot.

The chief petitioners were Timothy R. Trickey and Bill Sizemore.

This measure was designed to reduce the latitude that state officials have for rejecting signatures, and to protect the interests of voters in having their valid signatures counted.

History

Ballot language for this measure was submitted to the Oregon Secretary of State on June 30, 2006. The measure was approved for circulation on October 23, 2006.

The certified ballot title received from the Oregon Attorney General was:

LIMITS GROUNDS FOR REJECTING INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, RECALL PETITION SIGNATURES; MODIFIES PROCEDURES FOR VERIFYING SUBMITTED SIGNATURES.

SUMMARY: Currently, to qualify for the ballot, an initiative, referendum, or recall must contain certain number of qualified voters’ verified signatures; officials verify signatures using voter registration records; officials may not verify signatures unless chief petitioner and petition circulators satisfied legal requirements for petition circulation, signature gathering, signature submission (including requirement that each signature sheet contain signatures from one county only); officials may examine statistical samples to determine valid signature number. Measure requires Secretary of State to: examine each signature submitted, make “good faith effort” (undefined) to contact voter whose signature is questioned; count signatures from anyone registered to vote either when person signed petition or when petition was submitted to elections officer. Prohibits invalidating signatures due to petition circulator’s error or omission. Other provisions.

The official language shows a very strong influence from the five-page letter submitted by attorney Margaret S. Olney on behalf of her client Larry Wolfe, President of the Oregon Education Association, a major teachers union which advocates greater spending on public schools, and opposes constraints on government’s ability to raise taxes and spending. That is most clearly displayed in the quotation marks around “good faith effort” and the following parenthetic (undefined), which is pulled verbatim from Ms. Olney’s letter.

Passage of this measure would have lowered the discretion public officials can use to favor certain petitions or to disfavor others; it would have thereby lowered the risk and cost of petitions which are opposed by those public officials.[1]

Ballot access requirements

In order to appear on the November 4, 2008 ballot, the chief petitioners needed to collect 82,769 valid signatures of Oregon voters. The measure did not appear on the ballot.

External links

See also

References