Lawsuit Filed Against Oregon’s Ban on Paying Petitioners on a Per-Signature Basis

On November 8, 2013, a federal lawsuit was filed against Oregon’s ban on paying petitioners on the basis of how many signatures they collect. Buehler v Brown, 3:13cv-1990.

An earlier lawsuit against that ban failed to achieve any change in the law. That case was Prete v Bradbury, 438 F 3d 949 (2006). However, in that case, the Ninth Circuit wrote, “To be clear, we do not hold that Measure 26 is facially constitutional. Rather, we hold that because the district court did not clearly err in determining plaintiffs failed to establish that Measure 26 significantly diminishes the pool of potential petition circulators, increases the cost of signature gathering, or increases the invalidity rate of signatures gathered, we cannot conclude that Measure 26 imposes a ‘severe burden’ under the First Amendment.”

Plaintiffs in the new lawsuit expect to submit evidence that the restriction does impose a severe burden, and thus their case is not foreclosed by the 2006 opinion.

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