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Oregon Independent Redistricting Commission Amendment (2010)

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See also: Redistricting in Oregon
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Proposed allot measures that were not on a ballot
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Oregon Independent Redistricting Commission Amendment, also known as Initiatives 50, did not appear on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot in Oregon as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure would have repealed the current legislative redistricting process and established a new process.

On July 26 the Oregon Secretary of State said that of the 114,973 signatures submitted only 91,617 were valid. However, in order to qualify for the 2010 ballot the measure required at least 110,358 valid signatures.[1]

Text of measure


The ballot title read as follows:[2]

Amends Constitution: Repeals current legislative redistricting process, creates new process conducted by appointed commission of retired judges.

Result of "Yes" Vote: "Yes" vote repeals current process of legislative redistricting by legislature or Secretary of State; requires redistricting by appointed commission of retired judges or Supreme Court.

Result of "No" Vote: "No" vote retains current constitutional provision requiring legislative redistricting after each census by legislature or, if legislature fails to complete plan, by Secretary of State.


According to the description prepared by the Oregon Secretary of State:

Amends Constitution. Oregon Constitution requires legislature to reapportion state's legislative districts based on population every ten years, following federal census. There are statutory criteria for redistricting. If legislature fails to enact a redistricting plan, Secretary of State redraws districts, after public hearing, testimony, evidence. Any elector may challenge the redistricting plan in the Oregon Supreme Court. Measure repeals current process; creates commission composed of retired circuit court judges, appointed by Chief Justice and free form legislative control, to conduct redistricting. Puts redistricting criteria into constitution, modified slightly. Commission prepares preliminary plan, followed by public comment and hearing throughout the state. If commission's final plan not completed by September 1, Supreme Court must provide final plan by December 31. No review of court's redistricting plan. Other provisions.


The proposed redistricting amendment was supported by activist Ross Day’s Balanced and Fair Representation Committee.


According to May 2010 reports the Balanced and Fair Representation Committee had a total of $242,200.50 in contributions, $230,435.00 in expenditures, and a cash balance of $11,865.50.[3][4]

Below is a chart that outlines major cash contributions to the "Balanced and Fair Representation Committee":[5]

Contributor Amount
VOTE LLC $126,500
Phil Knight, Nike founder $50,000
Oregon Restaurant Association $25,000
Associated Oregon Industries $20,000
Common Sense for Oregon $15,000

Path to the ballot

See also: Oregon signature requirements

A petition for an initiated constitutional amendment required eight percent of 1,379,475, or 110,358 signatures. The deadline for filing signatures for the November 2, 2010 ballot was July 2, 2010. According to reports, initiative supporters filed 15,988 signatures as of March 31.[6] May 2010 reports indicated that approximately 23,509 total signatures were collected.[7]

According to July reports, supporters submitted about 125,000 signatures by July 2, deadline day.[8][9] The Secretary of State's office had 30 days to verify the names.[10]

On July 26 the Oregon Secretary of State said that of the 114,973 signatures submitted only 91,617 were valid. However, in order to qualify for the 2010 ballot the measure required at least 110,358 valid signatures.[11][12]

Signature challenge lawsuit

In mid-July supporters of the proposed amendment filed a lawsuit against the Oregon Secretary of State challenging the state's signature laws. Specifically the lawsuit argued that the state's current signature checking rules are more restrictive than stipulated by state law.[13]

Prior to the final validation of the signatures, the Elections Division said they had thrown out 12,975 signatures. According to reports, the dismissal of the signatures made it unlikely that the measure would qualify for the 2010 ballot. "We know we can't make it on the ballot if they pull this many without even looking at them," said Kevin Mannix, who helped write the initiative.[14]

Disqualifying signatures is "a very normal part of the process" according to state officials. Of the total number of signatures submitted by supporters, approximately 10% were thrown out. According to reports, signatures were disqualified if a petitioner wrote the date incorrectly, the signers' dates did not match or because an address was listed more than once in similar writing. According to state's administrative rules, all are valid reasons to disqualify petitions.[14]

The state's rules for disqualifying a petition due to at least one error is "not a legitimate exercise" and is unfair, according to Tyler Smith, attorney for the initiative backers.[14]

According to reports, arguments were scheduled to be heard on July 26.[15] Regardless of the judge's ruling, it would not immediately qualify the measure for the ballot. However, it could require previously thrown out petition sheets to be reviewed.[16]

Court ruling

On July 27, Marion County Circuit Judge Mary James denied the motion to allow previously discarded signatures to be reviewed and reconsidered. In her opinion, James wrote, "The failure to demonstrate likelihood of success on the merits requires denial of petitioners’ motion." During the July 26 court hearing, the state argued that even if the dismissed signatures were reconsidered they would not be sufficient to qualify the measure for the ballot. In response to the court's ruling, Ross Day, Executive Director of Common Sense for Oregon, said, "We spent a lot of time and effort trying to get the measure to qualify, and to have a set of signatures thrown out really for no reason, other than the arbitrary decision of the Secretary of State, doesn’t make me too happy.[17][18]

See also


External links

Additional reading


  1. Willamette Week, "State Says Redistricting Initiative Doesn’t Qualify For Ballot," July 26, 2010
  2. Oregon Secretary of State, "Initiative 50 - Oregon Independent Redistricting Commission Amendment," August 25, 2009
  3. ORESTAR, "Account Summary Information for the year 2010," accessed May 26, 2010
  4. Willamette Week, "Phil Knight Gives $50K To Change Oregon’s Legislative Redistricting Process ," May 25, 2010
  5. ORESTAR, "Balanced and Fair Representation Committee: Campaign transactions," accessed May 26, 2010
  6. The Oregonian, "So far, three Oregon initiatives look likely to qualify for ballot," April 15, 2010
  7. The Oregonian, "Oregon initiative petitioning gearing up, but few may make ballot," May 17, 2010
  8. Blue Oregon, "Signatures turned in for fall ballot measures," July 3, 2010
  9. The Statesman Journal, "Ballot proposals address marijuana, prisons, casino," July 3, 2010
  10. The Oregonian, "Six citizen initiatives may make Oregon's November ballot," July 2, 2010
  11. Portland Business Journal, "Redistricting measure fails ballot test," July 26, 2010
  12. Democrat Herald, "Oregon redistricting measure falls short," July 26, 2010
  13. Statesman Journal, "Oregon secretary of state sued over redistricting," July 22, 2010
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 The Oregonian, "Backers of Oregon redistricting initiative say they'll sue Secretary of State Kate Brown," July 20, 2010
  15. Oregon Public Broadcasting, "Petition Signature Lawsuit Heads To Court," July 26, 2010
  16. Statesman Journal, "Judge to rule on Oregon redistricting ballot measure," July 26, 2010
  17. The Oregon Politico, "Motion to allow rejected signatures on Petition 50 fails," July 27, 2010
  18. Statesman Journal, "Judge rejects request by redistricting initiative sponsors to reinstate signatures," July 27, 2010