Salem, OR—Today, Marion County Circuit Court ruled in favor of Secretary of State Bev Clarno in her decision to reject three petition initiatives on the grounds they were in violation of the single subject rule.
“I am pleased the court has affirmed the importance of the single subject rule,” Secretary Clarno said. “Voters should not need a law degree to interpret ballot measures.”
In September, Secretary Clarno rejected three petition initiatives because they violated the constitutional requirement that initiative petitions must contain a single subject. One of the petitions had 18 sections.
“The single subject rule exists to protect voters from having to vote on ballot initiatives that are just way too complicated,” Secretary Clarno said. “It’s my duty as Secretary of State to protect Oregon voters and it’s a duty I take seriously.”
Secretary Clarno obtained the services of Portland firm Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt and attorney W. Michael Gillette in October to defend the decision and protect the rights of Oregon voters in court. Mr. Gillette, a former Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court, was selected specifically for his expertise on the single subject rule, as it was the Secretary’s desire to find the best possible attorney to protect the rights of Oregon voters.
Mr. Gillette was hired after Secretary Clarno decided it was better to obtain independent counsel than rely on the Department of Justice in this case. The Secretary believes strongly that public officials should be able to rely on their counsel in order to protect the rights of Oregon voters. A complete timeline of events in this case can be found in the following statement:
November 27, 2019 Statement from Secretary of State Bev Clarno: https://sos.oregon.gov/Documents/clarno-statement-...
Letter from Secretary of State Bev Clarno to Attorney General Rosenblum, dated Oct. 21, 2019 and Letter from Attorney General
Rosenblum to Secretary of State Bev Clarno, dated Oct. 24, 2019: https://sos.oregon.gov/Documents/doj-Letters-2019....