Difference between revisions of "Pay-per-signature"

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===Bernbeck v. Gale===
 
===Bernbeck v. Gale===
 
:: ''See also: [[Bernbeck v. Gale]]''
 
:: ''See also: [[Bernbeck v. Gale]]''
On January 5, 2010 Nebraska petition rights activist Kent Bernbeck filed a lawsuit, ''Bernbeck v. Gale'' in federal district court challenging Nebraska's ban on pay-per-signature<ref>[http://www.citizensincharge.org/blog/brandon/second-lawsuit-in-three-weeks-challenges-nebraska-petition-restrictions ''Citizens in Charge Foundation'', "Second Lawsuit in Three Weeks Challenges Nebraska Petition Restrictions"]</ref>.  The trial begun on December 21, 2010, in the [[judgepedia:District of Nebraska|District of Nebraska]] federal court<ref name="ne">[Confirmed via email in a official statement received from Domina Law Firm on December 19, 2010]</ref>.  The lawsuit alleges that age and residency restrictions added to petition circulators in 2008 violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution<ref name="ne" />.  A petition for a new pool slide in Stanton, Nebraska was denied as John Bernebeck's brother and daughter did not meet the requirements for being a legal circulator.  Bernbeck's daughter was under the age of 18 while his brother was a resident of the State of [[Nevada]]<ref name="ne" />.
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On January 5, 2010, Nebraska petition rights activist Kent Bernbeck filed a lawsuit, ''Bernbeck v. Gale'' in federal district court challenging Nebraska's ban on pay-per-signature<ref>[http://www.citizensincharge.org/blog/brandon/second-lawsuit-in-three-weeks-challenges-nebraska-petition-restrictions ''Citizens in Charge Foundation'', "Second Lawsuit in Three Weeks Challenges Nebraska Petition Restrictions"]</ref>.  The trial begun on December 21, 2010, in the [[judgepedia:District of Nebraska|District of Nebraska]] federal court<ref name="ne">[Confirmed via email in a official statement received from Domina Law Firm on December 19, 2010]</ref>.  The lawsuit alleges that age and residency restrictions added to petition circulators in 2008 violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution<ref name="ne" />.  A petition for a new pool slide in Stanton, Nebraska was denied as John Bernebeck's brother and daughter did not meet the requirements for being a legal circulator.  Bernbeck's daughter was under the age of 18 while his brother was a resident of the State of [[Nevada]]<ref name="ne" />.
  
 
In a separate case, the [[Citizens in Charge Foundation]] sued [[Nebraska Secretary of State]] [[John Gale]] on the out-of-state petition circulator ban along with the county-level [[distribution requirement]] for non-presidential independent candidates in 2010.  The outcome of the case is pending<ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2010/12/20/trial-set-for-nebraska-case-on-residency-requirement-for-circulators-other-issues/ ''Ballot Access News'', "Trial Set for Nebraska Case on Residency Requirement for Circulators, Other Issues," December 20, 2010]</ref>.
 
In a separate case, the [[Citizens in Charge Foundation]] sued [[Nebraska Secretary of State]] [[John Gale]] on the out-of-state petition circulator ban along with the county-level [[distribution requirement]] for non-presidential independent candidates in 2010.  The outcome of the case is pending<ref>[http://www.ballot-access.org/2010/12/20/trial-set-for-nebraska-case-on-residency-requirement-for-circulators-other-issues/ ''Ballot Access News'', "Trial Set for Nebraska Case on Residency Requirement for Circulators, Other Issues," December 20, 2010]</ref>.

Revision as of 21:00, 25 August 2014

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Pay-per-signature is one way of compensating signature-gatherers who collect signatures to qualify candidates or ballot initiatives or recall elections for the ballot.

In 2008-2009, several states -- including Colorado, Montana and Nebraska -- made it illegal to compensate petition circulators based on how many signatures they are able to collect on petitions. It is an active area of litigation with a federal judge issuing a preliminary injunction in June 2010 against the new Colorado law (HB 1326) in a lawsuit that says the law's ban on pay-per-signature violates the U.S. Constitution.[1]

Arguments

For

Those who believe it should be illegal to pay a circulator by the signature generally say that they think that there will be more fraud in the signature-gathering process when circulators have a financial incentive to turn in more signatures. Scott Noren, DDS, a former U.S. Senate candidate in New York remarks the following, "If you were an underdog like I was, and could pay $15,000 to get 15,000 signatures to get on the ballot for U.S. Senate versus competing against incumbents like Senator Gillibrand who needs a State democratic committee vote to get on the ballot, this evens the playing field. It would make it more accessible for real grassroots candidates like myself to get on the ballot."

Against

Those who believe that initiative sponsors ought to be able to pay circulators by the signature advance three main claims:

  • Circulators who are paid by the signature do not have higher rates of fraud than those who are paid by the hour, or who are volunteers. Daniel Smith, a professor at the University of Florida, wrote a study in 2008 which concluded "there is no clear pattern demonstrating that paying for signatures increases invalid rates" over volunteer efforts.[2]
  • When initiative sponsors are forbidden by the government to pay circulators on a per-signature basis, petition drives become more expensive. Mason Tvert of SAFER, a pro-marijuana-rights organization, says that after HB 1326 was enacted in Colorado in 2009, "The cost of qualifying a measure for the ballot has increased dramatically as a result. I have been quoted about $3.50 per signature for this year, as compared to $1.50 last year."[2]
  • When state legislatures enact laws that make petition drives more expensive, they are chipping away at the right of initiative.[2]
  • Such laws are constitutionally suspect under the First Amendment because they drive up the cost of collecting signatures and therefore cut into core First Amendment rights.[3]

Jill Stewart, a reporter at LA Weekly, referred to a bill banning pay-per-signature passed by the California State Senate in 2009, but vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, as "a blatant effort by legislators, working on behalf of huge special interests including Big Pharma, Big Labor and Big Business, to stop environmental groups, anti-tax groups and others from gathering the 450,000 to 700,000 signatures required to place an initiative, referendum or recall on the statewide ballot." Stewart also used the phrase "Under the false guise of 'reform'," suggesting that the reform was a pseudo-reform.[4]

Lawsuits

Independence Institute v. Colorado Secretary of State

See also: Independence Institute v. Colorado Secretary of State

On Friday, June 11, federal district judge Philip Brimmer issued a 39-page preliminary injunction forbidding the state of Colorado from enforcing several key provisions of Colorado House Bill 1326 (2009). Judge Brimmer's order, in particular, found that the provisions of HB 1326 that ban compensating petition circulators on a pay-per-signature basis are unconstitutional.[5]

Prete v. Bradbury

See also: Prete v. Bradbury

Prete v. Bradbury is 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.[6] The ban was one of the provisions of Oregon Ballot Measure 26.

Bernbeck v. Gale

See also: Bernbeck v. Gale

On January 5, 2010, Nebraska petition rights activist Kent Bernbeck filed a lawsuit, Bernbeck v. Gale in federal district court challenging Nebraska's ban on pay-per-signature[7]. The trial begun on December 21, 2010, in the District of Nebraska federal court[8]. The lawsuit alleges that age and residency restrictions added to petition circulators in 2008 violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution[8]. A petition for a new pool slide in Stanton, Nebraska was denied as John Bernebeck's brother and daughter did not meet the requirements for being a legal circulator. Bernbeck's daughter was under the age of 18 while his brother was a resident of the State of Nevada[8].

In a separate case, the Citizens in Charge Foundation sued Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale on the out-of-state petition circulator ban along with the county-level distribution requirement for non-presidential independent candidates in 2010. The outcome of the case is pending[9].

Other lawsuits

References