Oregon citizens panel prepares to review ballot measures for November election
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. 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.
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.