Signature requirements for ballot measures in Oregon
|Laws • History|
|List of measures|
The number of signatures required is tied to the number of votes cast for the office of governor in the state's most recent gubernatorial election. Valid signatures equaling 8% of this vote are needed for initiated constitutional amendments and signatures equal to 6% of this vote are required for initiated statutes. Signatures equal to 4% of the votes cast for governor are needed for a veto referendum.
Basis for calculation
In 2010, 1,453,548 votes were cast for the office of governor.
New signature requirements
As of January of 2008 HB 2082 was approved by the legislature and the courts. The bill, designed to lessen initiative fraud, placed significant new burdens on the state's initiative process. Some of the changes for signature collection include:
- If you have been convicted of a crime with the last five years you may not take a job being paid to collect signatures.
- Paid signature gatherers must register with the secretary of state and undergo a brief training.
- Require that signers themselves fill in personal information, rather than allowing signature gatherers to do so
- Ensure all voter signatures are counted by allowing voters from around the state to sign on the same petition sheet, rather than on county-by-county sheets, a practice that frequently causes mistakes.
- Ensure campaigns are complying with a ban on payment-per-signature collections by requiring wage records to be kept and given to state officials if requested.
- Stop ballot title shopping, the practice of filing multiple versions of a measure in order to pick the best ballot title result, a costly process for state lawyers. It will take 1,000 signatures rather than 25 before an initiative petition gets a ballot title.
- Allows electronic circulation of petitions by allowing initiative supporters to download a specialized form, sign it, and send it in to be counted as a signature.
Changes in signature requirements over time
In 1902, when Oregon voters approved the legislatively referred ballot measure authorizing initiative and referendum in the state, the number of signatures was tied to the number of votes cast for justice of the Oregon Supreme Court.
At that time, both initiated statutes and initiated constitutional amendments required eight percent of the vote cast for justice, and a referendum required five percent.
In 1954, in a popular vote, the Oregon Constitution was amended to increase to 10 percent the number of signatures required for a constitutional amendment. The current requirements (4% for a referendum, 6% for an initiated statute, and 8% for an initiated constitutional amendment) were established by a vote of the people in 1968.
- Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Oregon
- Laws governing the initiative process in Oregon
- History of Initiative & Referendum in Oregon
- List of Oregon ballot measures
- States where signature requirements are based on votes cast for governor
- Oregon Gubernatorial Election Results
- Oregon Secretary of State, "2014 Elections Calendar," accessed December 27, 2013
- Confirmed with Oregon SOS-Elections Division via phone on 1-21-2011
- Law designed to reduce Oregon initiative petition fraud, mistakes, The Oregonian, Jan. 9, 2008
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