Oregon citizens panel prepares to review ballot measures for November election

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August 10, 2010


SALEM, Oregon: In what has been described as a "political experiment" to open discussion and provide voters a more balanced look at ballot measures, a citizens panel will review and provide statements on the certified November 2 ballot measures. The panel consists of 24 randomly selected citizens. According to reports, organizer Healthy Democracy Oregon said that the panel includes a cross-section of age, ethnicity and party affiliation. The group will hear arguments for and against a proposed ballot measure. At the end of the week, the panel will offer a statement based on the hearings and arguments presented during the week.[1] The statement, known as the "Citizen's Statement," will consist of the most important arguments and how many panelists support or oppose the measure. Each ballot measure will be reviewed by a new panel. The crafted statements will be printed on the state's voters' pamphlet.[2]

In 2009 the Oregon State Legislature endorsed the Citizen Initiative Review as a pilot project. According to Healthy Democracy Oregon, organizers of the project, no state tax money is involved in the process. The total cost is estimated at $150,000 and is funded through grants and private donations. The project is evaluated by a team from the University of Washington.[2]

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