Marion County Circuit Court Judge Mary M. James declined this week to approve a preliminary injunction motion to put IP-24 on the November Ballot. Nevertheless, the lawsuit against Secretary of State Kate Brown challenging her signature validity processes will continue, says Robert Wolfe, Chief Petitioner for IP-24 and Progressive Party Candidate for Secretary of State.
“I don’t think the Judge made the right call on the law or the facts,” says Wolfe. “IP-24 will not be on the ballot this year, but the fight against Kate Brown’s unreasonable and anti-voter policies will move forward.”
IP-24 failed to qualify for the ballot when the Secretary of State determined that nearly half of the 175,000 signatures submitted for the measure were invalid. Validity was determined using new procedures imposed by Brown without public process or legislative oversight in 2010. Using the new procedures, most ballot initiatives this election season suffered historically low validity rates, creating tremendous extra expense and effort for campaigns including marijuana legalization.
Wolfe filed suit to challenge the new procedures, and then asked for a preliminary injunction to force IP-24 on the ballot. The Court declined to put the measure on the ballot, but the broader lawsuit remains in place. The judge did not rule on the challenge to the validity procedures, but only on the injunction.
“Kate Brown has imposed unreasonable and arcane signature validity standards without any judicial, legislative or public review. I believe this violates the law, and it certainly places the initiative system further out of reach of citizens attempting to use this important tool of Democracy,” says Wolfe. “By hindering citizen access to the ballot this way, Kate Brown has disenfranchised tens of thousands of voters on just this one petition. Her actions may well be unconstitutional, and through my lawsuit, I intend to correct this injustice.”
“As candidate for Secretary of State, I will make reform of the initiative system the centerpiece of my campaign. Kate Brown’s policies have made our initiative process treacherous, expensive and difficult. Her Elections Division relies on secret campaign infiltrators and anonymous reports to ‘investigate’ elections violations. Her policies demand that validity checkers discard as many signatures as possible from initiative petitions. Democracy demands that we do much, much better.”
Wolfe plans to propose the Elections Division Reform Act of 2013 as part of his campaign for Secretary of State. The proposal will include online petition signing, voter signature retention policies, and change the mission of the Elections Division to facilitate the efforts of chief petitioners rather than hindering them.
Press Release From Citizens For Sensible Law Enforcement