On petitions to review ballot title filed February 14, 2014; considered and under advisement on April 8, 2014.
Roy Pulvers, Holland & Knight, LLP, Portland, filed the petition and response for petitioner Dixon.
Gregory A. Chaimov, Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP, Portland, filed the petition and response for petitioners Frohnmayer.
Matthew J. Lysne, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Salem, filed the answering memorandum. With him on the memorandum were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General.
[355 Or. 366] LANDAU, J.
Petitioners seek review of the ballot title for Initiative Petition 38 (2014) (IP 38), arguing that the ballot title does not satisfy the requirements of ORS 250.035(2). We review a certified ballot title to determine whether it substantially complies with those statutory requirements. ORS 250.085(5). For the reasons that follow, we refer the ballot title to the Attorney General for modification.
IP 38, if adopted, would alter the Oregon primary election process for certain partisan offices, denominated " voter choice offices." Those offices are United States Senator, Congressional Representative, Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Attorney General, state Senator, state Representative, and any state, county, city, or district partisan office for which the law currently authorizes political party nominations to the general election. Under current law, major parties nominate candidates to the general election through party primaries. Minor parties and independents nominate their candidates directly to the general election ballot. Under IP 38, all candidates for affected partisan offices -- whether from a major party, a minor party, or an independent -- would appear on a primary ballot. Every voter then would be authorized to vote for one or more of the candidates for each office. Specifically, the proposed measure provides that " [a] voter may vote for as many of the listed candidates as the voter chooses, and in so doing may cast votes for more than one candidate for a single * * * office, provided that the voter may not cast more than one vote for any individual candidate." The two candidates who receive the greatest number of votes for each office would then " be the sole candidates who advance to the general election."
IP 38 also would alter the way ballots are to be printed in primary elections. If passed, the measure would require election clerks to print on primary and general election ballots the name of each candidate, followed by his or her political affiliation, if any, and the name of any major or minor party that has officially endorsed the candidate.
In addition, IP 38 would modify the process for filling vacancies in partisan offices. In particular, it would [355 Or. 367] eliminate the current requirement a that person filling a vacancy be affiliated with the same political party as that of the person leaving office.
IP 38 would modify the election process in other less significant ways, as well, by changing the process by which minor political parties qualify, and setting the dates for primary and general elections.
The Attorney General certified the following ballot title for IP 38:
" Changes general election nominating process: provides one common primary ballot; unlimited votes; top two advance
" Result of 'Yes' Vote: 'Yes' vote replaces current general election nomination process for most partisan offices; all candidates listed on ...