Prete v. Bradbury

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Prete v. Bradbury is the name of a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon against Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury challenging Oregon's restrictions on paying petition circulators by the signature.

The outcome of the lawsuit was that U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken, a Clinton appointee, upheld Oregon's ban on pay-per-signature on February 11, 2004.[1] The ban was one of the provisions of Oregon Ballot Measure 26.

Plaintiffs in the case were Barbara and Eugene Prete. They appealed the district court's ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In February 2006, the court of appeals upheld the lower court's ruling.


Impact on initiative process in Oregon

In December 2007, several conservative initiative activists in Oregon, including Bill Sizemore received registered letters from Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury notifying them of Bradbury's intention to fine them $250 each because two petitioners working as subcontractors for several petition drives in 2006 allegedly paid their circulators by the signature.[2].

Impact in other states


In the wake of opposition to a successful 2006 petition drive for a TABOR initiative, there was a move in the Nebraska Unicameral to pass laws increasing restrictions on petition circulators. One of the proposed legislative restrictions, LB 39, would have prohibited paying circulators by the signature. Nebraska state senator Annette Dubas requested an opinion from Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning about whether the proposed legislative restriction was constitutional. Bruning's opinion included an analysis of Prete v. Bradbury[3] about how the ruling in Prete v. Bradbury applied to the proposed Nebraska petition law. His conclusion was:

As is the case regarding the First Amendment analysis, however, determining whether the prohibition proposed in LB 39 is a reasonable regulation to prevent fraud which facilitates the initiative process, as opposed to an impermissible obstruction or impediment, would no doubt hinge on an evaluation of evidence relating to the burden imposed on petition sponsors by such a restriction, as well as evidence as to the State’s justification of the prohibition as a means to prevent fraud. Thus, while the prohibition against payment of petition circulators based on the number of signatures collected in LB 39 does not facially violate art. III, § 4, its application could be challenged based on facts demonstrating it does not reasonably serve to facilitate the petition process.


Sherry Appleton, a Democratic member of the Washington House of Representatives, proposed HB 1087, a bill "prohibiting the payment of signature gatherers on a per-signature basis" in January 2007.[4]

See also

External links