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Oregon Library Laws - Revised Statutes - Elections: Initiative and Referendum
Oregon Revised Statutes
Chapter 255 - Special District Elections
 
INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM
 
255.115 Definitions for ORS 255.125 to 255.205. As used in ORS 255.125 to 255.205, "district" means a district referred to in subsection (5) of section 1, Article IV, Oregon Constitution.
 
255.125 Application of ORS 255.135 to 255.205. ORS 255.135 to 255.205 carry out the provisions of section 1, Article IV, Oregon Constitution, and shall apply to the exercise of initiative or referendum powers by the people of a district regarding a district measure.
 
255.135 Submitting prospective petition; form of petition; statement regarding payment of petition circulators; signature sheet requirements; annual statement.
(1) Before circulating a petition to initiate or refer a district measure, the petitioner shall file with the elections officer a prospective petition. The elections officer immediately shall date and time stamp the prospective petition, and specify the form on which the petition shall be printed for circulation. The officer shall retain the prospective petition.
 
(2) The cover of an initiative or referendum petition shall designate the name and residence address of not more than three persons as chief petitioners and shall contain instructions for persons obtaining signatures of electors on the petition. The instructions shall be adopted by the Secretary of State by rule. The cover of a referendum petition shall contain the title described in ORS 255.145 (1). If the circuit court has not reviewed the ballot title under ORS 255.155, the cover of an initiative petition shall contain the ballot title described in ORS 255.145 (3). If the circuit court has reviewed the ballot title, the cover of the initiative petition shall contain the title certified by the court.
 
(3) The chief petitioners shall include with the prospective petition a statement declaring whether one or more persons will be paid money or other valuable consideration for obtaining signatures of electors on the initiative or referendum petition. After the prospective petition is filed, the chief petitioners shall notify the filing officer not later than the 10th day after any of the chief petitioners first has knowledge or should have had knowledge that:
(a) Any person is being paid for obtaining signatures, when the statement included with the prospective petition declared that no such person would be paid.
 
(b) No person is being paid for obtaining signatures, when the statement included with the prospective petition declared that one or more such persons would be paid.
(4)
(a) Each sheet of signatures on an initiative petition shall contain the caption of the ballot title. Each sheet of signatures on a referendum petition shall contain the number of the ordinance to be referred and the date it was adopted by the district board.
 
(b) Each sheet of signatures on an initiative or referendum petition shall, if one or more persons will be paid for obtaining signatures of electors on the petition, contain a notice stating: "Some Circulators For This Petition Are Being Paid."
(5) The reverse side of the cover of an initiative or referendum petition shall be used for obtaining signatures on an initiative or referendum petition.
 
(6) Not more than 20 signatures on the signature sheet of the initiative or referendum petition shall be counted. The circulator shall certify on each signature sheet that the individuals signed the sheet in the presence of the circulator and that the circulator believes each individual is an elector registered in the district.
 
(7) If the gathering of signatures exceeds the period of one year from the time the petition is approved for circulation, any of the chief petitioners, on or before the anniversary of approval of the petition for circulation:
(a) Shall file annually with the elections officer a statement that the initiative petition is still active; and
 
(b) May submit to the elections officer for verification any signatures gathered on the petition in the preceding year.
(8) Not later than 30 days before the date that the chief petitioners must file a statement and submit signatures under subsection (7) of this section, the elections officer shall notify the chief petitioners in writing of the requirements of subsection (7) of this section. The notice shall be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.
 
(9) The elections officer shall not accept for filing any petition which has not met the provisions of subsection (7) of this section.
 
(10) The person obtaining signatures on the petition shall carry at least one full and correct copy of the measure to be initiated or referred and shall allow any person to review a copy upon request of the person.
255.140 Determination of compliance with constitutional provisions; notice; appeal.
(1) Not later than the fifth business day after receiving a prospective petition for an initiative measure, the elections officer shall determine in writing whether the initiative measure meets the requirements of section 1 (2)(d) and (5), Article IV of the Oregon Constitution.
 
(2) If the elections officer determines that the initiative measure meets the requirements of section 1 (2)(d) and (5), Article IV of the Oregon Constitution, the elections officer shall proceed as required in ORS 255.145. The elections officer shall include in the publication required under ORS 255.145 (5) a statement that the initiative measure has been determined to meet the requirements of section 1 (2)(d) and (5), Article IV of the Oregon Constitution.
 
(3) If the elections officer determines that the initiative measure does not meet the requirements of section 1 (2)(d) and (5), Article IV of the Oregon Constitution, the elections officer shall immediately notify the petitioner, in writing by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the determination.
 
(4) Any elector dissatisfied with a determination of the elections officer under subsection (1) of this section may petition the circuit court of the judicial district in which the administrative office of the district is located seeking to overturn the determination of the elections officer. If the elector is dissatisfied with a determination that the initiative measure meets the requirements of section 1 (2)(d) and (5), Article IV of the Oregon Constitution, the petition must be filed not later than the seventh business day after the ballot title is filed with the elections officer. If the elector is dissatisfied with a determination that the initiative measure does not meet the requirements of section 1 (2)(d) and (5), Article IV of the Oregon Constitution, the petition must be filed not later than the seventh business day after the written determination is made by the elections officer.
 
(5) The review by the circuit court shall be the first and final review, and shall be conducted expeditiously to ensure the orderly and timely circulation of the petition.
255.145 Preparation of ballot title for certain measures; notice.
(1) When a prospective petition for a district measure to be referred is filed with the elections officer, the officer shall authorize the circulation of the petition containing the title of the measure as enacted by the district elections authority or, if there is no title, the title supplied by the petitioner filing the prospective petition. The elections officer immediately shall send two copies of the prospective petition to the district attorney of the county in which the administrative office of the district is located.
 
(2) Not later than the sixth business day after a prospective petition for a district measure to be initiated is filed with the elections officer, the officer shall send two copies of it to the district attorney of the county in which the administrative office of the district is located if the measure to be initiated has been determined to be in compliance with section 1 (2)(d) and (5), Article IV of the Oregon Constitution, as provided in ORS 255.140.
 
(3) Not later than the fifth business day after receiving the copies of the prospective petition, the district attorney shall provide a ballot title for the district measure to be initiated or referred and return one copy of the prospective petition and the ballot title to the elections officer. Unless the circuit court certifies a different title, this ballot title shall be the title printed on the ballot.
 
(4) A copy of the ballot title shall be furnished to the chief petitioner.
 
(5) The elections officer, upon receiving a ballot title for a district measure to be referred or initiated from the district attorney, shall publish in the next available edition of a newspaper of general circulation in the district a notice of receipt of the ballot title including notice that an elector may file a petition for review of the ballot title not later than the date referred to in ORS 255.155.
255.155 Procedure for elector dissatisfied with title of district measure.
(1) Any elector dissatisfied with a ballot title filed with the elections officer by the district attorney or district elections authority may petition the circuit court of the judicial district in which the administrative office of the district is located seeking a different title and stating the reasons the title filed with the court is insufficient, not concise or unfair. The petition shall name as respondent the district attorney or district elections authority, depending on who prepared the ballot title, and must be filed not later than the seventh business day after the title is filed with the elections officer. The court shall review the title and measure to be initiated or referred, hear arguments, if any, and certify to the elections officer a title for the measure which meets the requirements of ORS 250.035.
 
(2) An elector filing a petition under this section shall notify the county clerk in writing that the petition has been filed. The notice shall be given not later than 5 p.m. on the next business day following the day the petition is filed.
 
(3) The review by the circuit court shall be the first and final review, and shall be conducted expeditiously to insure the orderly and timely circulation of petitions or conduct of the election at which the measure is to be submitted to the electors.
255.165 Signature requirements.
(1) Except for a district measure of the Port of Portland, a metropolitan service district organized under ORS chapter 268, a school district with an enrollment exceeding 40,000 pupils or a mass transit district situated in a standard metropolitan statistical area with a population exceeding 400,000, other than a mass transit district measure relating to a route, schedule or fare change, a petition to refer or initiate a district measure must be signed by a number of electors registered in the district that:
(a) For an initiative petition, is not less than 15 percent of the total number of votes cast in the district for all candidates for Governor at the most recent election at which a candidate for Governor was elected to a full term; and
 
(b) For a referendum petition, is not less than 10 percent of the total number of votes cast in the district for all candidates for Governor at the most recent election at which a candidate for Governor was elected to a full term.
(2) A petition to refer or initiate a district measure of the Port of Portland, a metropolitan service district organized under ORS chapter 268, a school district with an enrollment exceeding 40,000 pupils or a mass transit district situated in a standard metropolitan statistical area with a population exceeding 400,000, other than a mass transit district measure relating to a route, schedule or fare change, must be signed by a number of electors registered in the district that:
(a) For an initiative petition, is not less than six percent of the total number of votes cast in the district for all candidates for Governor at the most recent election at which a candidate for Governor was elected to a full term; and
 
(b) For a referendum petition, is not less than four percent of the total number of votes cast in the district for all candidates for Governor at the most recent election at which a candidate for Governor was elected to a full term.
(3) Except for a district measure of the Port of Portland, a metropolitan service district organized under ORS chapter 268, a school district with an enrollment exceeding 40,000 pupils or a mass transit district situated in a standard metropolitan statistical area with a population exceeding 400,000, other than a mass transit district measure relating to a route, schedule or fare change, a petition to refer a district measure must be filed with the elections officer not later than the 30th day after adoption of the district ordinance sought to be referred.
 
(4) A petition to refer a district measure of the Port of Portland, a metropolitan service district organized under ORS chapter 268, a school district with an enrollment exceeding 40,000 pupils or a mass transit district situated in a standard metropolitan statistical area with a population exceeding 400,000, other than a mass transit district measure relating to a route, schedule or fare change, must be filed with the elections officer not later than the 90th day after adoption of the district ordinance sought to be referred.
255.175 Filing officer; filing requirements; verification of signatures.
(1) An initiative or referendum petition relating to a district measure shall be filed with the elections officer for signature verification. The filed petition shall contain only original signatures.
 
(2) An initiative or referendum petition relating to a district measure shall not be accepted for filing if it contains less than 100 percent of the required number of signatures.
 
(3) For any petition requiring a number of signatures exceeding 4,500, the Secretary of State by rule shall designate a statistical sampling technique to verify whether a petition contains the required number of signatures of electors. A petition may not be rejected for the reason that it contains less than the required number of signatures unless two separate sampling processes both establish that the petition lacks the required number of signatures. The second sampling must contain a larger number of signatures than the first sampling.
 
(4) The Secretary of State may employ professional assistance to determine the sampling technique referred to in subsection (3) of this section.
255.185 Date of election on measure initiated or referred by electors.
(1) In a district that holds regular district elections, if an initiative or referendum petition contains the required number of verified signatures, the election on the district measure shall be held on a district election date specified by the district elections authority in the order calling the election. The election date may not be sooner than the next available date in ORS 255.345 for which the filing deadline may be met and may not be later than the first regular district election following the 40th day after the date of the order.
 
(2) In a district that does not hold regular district elections, if an initiative or referendum petition contains the required number of verified signatures, the election on the district measure shall be held on the next available district election date in ORS 255.345 for which the filing deadline may be met.
255.205 Retention of petition materials. The elections officer shall retain the signature sheets of a filed initiative or referendum petition with a copy of the district measure. If the measure is approved by the district electors, a copy of the measure shall be preserved as a permanent public record, and the signature sheets shall be preserved for six years.
 
255.215 Notice by mail in lieu of or in addition to newspaper publication. In lieu of or in addition to publication of notice under ORS 255.085 and 255.095, if it is expedient to do so the elections officer may give notice by mail to each elector of the district. The notice shall have postage prepaid, and shall be considered given when mailed. Mailed notice of a district election under ORS 255.085 shall be made not later than three days after receipt of the ballot title. Proof of mailing shall be by affidavit of the elections officer. The affidavit shall state the time and place the notice was mailed.