2017 ORS 250.105¹
Petition filing requirements
  • monthly filing
  • signature verification
  • rules

(1)(a) An initiative or referendum petition relating to a state measure must be filed with the Secretary of State for the purpose of verifying whether the petition contains the required number of signatures of electors.

(b) Signatures previously verified on a prospective petition for a state measure to be initiated shall be included in the calculation under this section for the purpose of verifying whether the initiative petition contains the required number of signatures of electors.

(c) When filing an initiative or referendum petition, the signature sheets must be sorted on the basis of the name of the person who obtained the signatures on the sheet.

(d) The secretary shall adopt rules establishing procedures for verifying signatures on an initiative or referendum petition.

(e) A filed initiative or referendum petition must contain only original signatures. The secretary or county clerk shall verify each petition in the order in which the petitions are filed with the secretary.

(2)(a) Once every month, the chief petitioner, or agent on behalf of the chief petitioner, of an initiative petition relating to a state measure shall file with the secretary all signature sheets containing signatures of electors obtained by a person being paid to obtain signatures on the petition since the previous monthly filing. The secretary shall hold all signature sheets filed under this subsection unless the chief petitioner withdraws the petition.

(b) The secretary shall adopt rules prescribing the dates by which signature sheets must be filed each month. The secretary may not accept signature sheets containing signatures of electors obtained by a person being paid to obtain signatures on the petition before the previous monthly filing deadline prescribed under this paragraph for purposes of determining whether an initiative petition relating to a state measure contains the required number of signatures of electors under this section.

(3) The secretary may not accept a referendum petition relating to a state measure for filing if the petition contains less than 100 percent of the required number of signatures. The secretary may not determine whether an initiative petition contains the required number of signatures of electors unless at least 100 percent of the required number of signatures have been filed with the secretary.

(4) If the total number of signatures required on an initiative petition or referendum petition is submitted not less than 165 days before the election at which the proposed measure is to be voted upon and if the secretary determines that insufficient signatures have been submitted but the deadline for filing signatures on the petition has not passed, the petitioners may submit additional signatures.

(5) The secretary 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. If two samplings are required under this subsection, the total number of signatures verified on the petition shall be not less than five percent of the total number of signatures on the petition.

(6) For purposes of estimating the number of duplicate signatures contained in a petition, the secretary shall apply at least an eight percent duplication rate in the first sampling of signatures on all petitions. If a second sampling of signatures is required under subsection (5) of this section, the secretary shall calculate an estimated signature duplication rate for each petition for which a second sampling is required. The calculation shall be based on the number of electors the secretary determines have signed a specific petition more than once.

(7) When verifying signatures for a state initiative or referendum petition, the secretary or county clerk shall identify on an elector’s voter registration record or other database that the elector signed the specific initiative or referendum petition.

(8) The Secretary of State may employ professional assistance to determine the sampling technique to be designated under subsection (5) of this section.

(9) The Secretary of State and the county clerk, if requested, shall permit authorized persons to be at the office of the secretary or county clerk to watch the verification of signatures on a state initiative petition or prospective petition for a state measure to be initiated under this section. The authorization shall be in writing and shall be filed with the secretary or county clerk. The secretary or county clerk shall permit only as many persons as watchers under this subsection as will not interfere with an orderly procedure at the office of the secretary or county clerk. [1979 c.190 §149; 1985 c.447 §7; 1989 c.68 §6; 1999 c.1021 §1; 2007 c.848 §11; 2009 c.533 §8; 2009 c.720 §5; 2013 c.519 §2]

Notes of Decisions

Use of statistical method that allowed place­ment of measure on ballot if probability of insufficient signatures did not exceed 80 percent failed to “verify” existence of sufficient signatures. Leo v. Keisling, 327 Or 556, 964 P2d 1023 (1998)

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Verifica­tion of signatures on referendum peti­tion before filing, (1980) Vol 40, p 486

Chapter 250

Law Review Cita­tions

27 WLR 132 (1991); 75 OLR 561 (1996)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 250—Initiative and Referendum, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors250.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 250, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano250.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.