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Salem, OR—Secretary of State Bev Clarno has ruled that three recently-submitted initiative petitions relating to forestry and other issues do not meet the constitutionally required single-subject rule. The single-subject rule exists to avoid voter confusion and to prevent proposals that are very popular with voters from being combined with other, unrelated proposals in the same ballot measure to garner voter approval of the less-popular proposal.

“In reviewing these initiative petitions, I followed the normal practice of this office,” said Secretary Clarno. “I shared the public comments that were submitted, challenging the measures’ constitutionality, with the Attorney General’s office. I then met with staff from the Attorney General’s office to confer with them. Upon reviewing the public comments, considering the Attorney General’s analysis, and discussing the matter with my Deputy, Rich Vial, and Elections Director Steve Trout, I determined that these three measures violate the single-subject rule.”

“In this particular case, I did not want voters to be confused about the primary purpose of the proposals,” said Clarno. “Measure 35, for example, has eighteen separate provisions that amend multiple sections of the Oregon Revised Statutes. I believe questions around how the Oregon Forest Council manages forests and around how aerial spraying should be conducted in our forests are very different. In addition, two of the measures address aerial spraying near schools separately from aerial spraying in general. These aspects of the proposed measures would potentially confuse voters.

“The initiative petition process is very important in giving Oregonians an opportunity to directly participate in our government. While some courts have been lenient in determining whether a petition meets the single-subject rule, I have a responsibility to do everything possible to ensure that each ballot measure is clear and embraces only one subject.

“It is my sincere hope that the proponents of these ballot measures will take my ruling as an opportunity to improve their proposal,” concluded Clarno. “I will always support the presentation of ballot measures that meet the constitutional requirements.”

CONTACT: Rich Vial | 503-986-2209 | rich.vial@oregon.gov

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Elections & Voting
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