petition to review ballot title fled May 30, 2017, considered
and under advisement July 25, 2017.
B. Wilson, Markowitz Herbold PC, Portland, fled the petition
and reply for petitioner.
Shannon Reel, Assistant Attorney General, Salem, fled the
answering memorandum for respondent. Also on the answering
memorandum were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and
Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.
Attorney General certified the ballot title for an initiative
petition. If placed on the ballot and enacted by the people,
the initiative would amend ORS 250.105, a statute relating to
the procedural requirements for placing initiatives and
referenda on the ballot. The amended statute would require
the Secretary of State both to permit initiative and
referendum petitions to be signed digitally and to create and
administer a website for digital signatures. Petitioner
obtained judicial review of the certified ballot title in the
Supreme Court under ORS 250.085(2). Petitioner contended that
the certified ballot title's caption, "yes"
vote result statement, and summary did not appropriately
communicate the effects of the initiative.
caption and "yes" vote result statement do not
adequately inform voters that the initiative would impose
responsibilities on the Secretary of State for creating and
administering a website to accept digital signatures on
initiative and referendum petitions.
certified ballot title is referred to the Attorney General
Or. 815] KISTLER, J.
seeks review of the Attorney General's certified ballot
title for Initiative Petition 2 (2018) (IP 2). See
ORS 250.085(2) (specifying requirements for seeking review of
certified ballot titles). We review ballot titles for
substantial compliance with ORS 250.035. See ORS
250.085(5) (stating standard of review). For the reasons
explained below, we refer the ballot title to the Attorney
General for modification.
if enacted, would change the way that signatures are gathered
to put an initiative measure or a referendum on the ballot.
Currently, once the Secretary of State determines that an
initiative or referendum petition meets certain minimum
requirements, the chief petitioners or petition circulators
must collect signatures from registered voters on signature
sheets prepared in accordance with the Secretary of
State's rules. See ORS 250.045 (describing
procedures for qualifying measures and referenda and
signature sheet requirements); Elections Division, Oregon
Secretary of State, State Initiative & Referendum
Manual 8, 21 (Jan 2016),
stateIR.pdf (accessed Aug 16, 2017). For example, to put a
measure enacting or amending a statute on the 2018 ballot,
the chief petitioners would have to secure 88, 184 valid,
handwritten signatures on signature sheets that conform to
the Secretary of State's requirements. State
Initiative & Referendum Manual at 5.
would make two major changes to those requirements. First, it
would require the Secretary of State to adopt rules
permitting registered voters to sign initiative and
referendum petitions digitally. IP 2 § 1(d) (permitting
digital signatures). Second, it would require the Secretary
of State to create and administer a website where registered
voters could sign petitions digitally. IP 2 § 1(f). The
measure contemplates that registered voters would sign
petitions digitally on the website created and administered
by the Secretary of State. However, IP 2 does not expressly
require the use of only that website.
Or. 816] The Attorney General certified the following ballot
"Secretary of State must enable and
digital signatures for state