Oregon Secretary of State Submits Bill to Hinder Petitioning

In Oregon, the Secretary of State and certain other state executive officials may sponsor bills. Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury is sponsoring HB 2082, which has its first hearing in the House Elections Committee on February 14. The bill makes these changes: (1) no one but a signer can add the signer’s printed name and address to the petition; (2) for initiatives, no photocopies of the petition are permitted; every sheet must come from the Secretary of State’s office, and each sheet has a unique page number; (3) no one can circulate an initiative without first taking government-sponsored training; (4) the chief petitioner must submit a list of all the circulators; signatures collected by somone not on the list are void.

Ironically, these changes tend to be most damaging to grass-roots volunteer petition drives, rather than to petition drives circulated by professional signature-gathering companies. The rule requiring that all sheets be issued by the Secretary of State is especially damaging for those would would use the internet to get petition sheets into the hands of many people quickly and cheaply.


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Oregon Secretary of State Submits Bill to Hinder Petitioning — No Comments

  1. Beware a state that requires you to use their forms! In 2000, for a signature requirement of 21,739 for statewide ballot access, the Pennsylvania Department of State would only provide the Green Party with 300 100-line nomination papers! This was completely inadequate given the number of forms that get lost or are not completely filled by various volunteers. After a month of pleas, the state gave us 100 more forms. After another month, they allowed us to print our own as long as they looked exactly the same (that’s on 22-inch by 17-inch sunflower-gold card stock) and they had to approve a sample first. These were bureaucratic shenanigans at their finest. Ultimately we gathered all the signatures we needed anyway.

  2. This is yet another attempt by a legislature to make it more difficult than necessary to put stuff on the ballot. This is all about them trying to limit the choices of the voters and retain more power for themselves.

    “Beware a state that requires you to use their forms! In 2000, for a signature requirement of 21,739 for statewide ballot access, the Pennsylvania Department of State would only provide the Green Party with 300 100-line nomination papers! This was completely inadequate given the number of forms that get lost or are not completely filled by various volunteers.”

    I know that Pennsylvania has like 67 counties and that you’ve got to seperate each signature by county. While petitioning it is common to encounter people from all over the state, especially if you are at a college of a festival, so you could end up with petition sheets that only have a handful of signatures on them because they are from outer counties. This means that you will run out of paper quicker. When you do run out of paper you need to be able to get more as quickly as possible, which means that you should be able to photo copy blank sheets if necessary. If you’ve got to wait until you can get more blank petition sheets from the state you’d be wasting valueable time that in a lot of cases could cost the petition drive to fail.

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