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Oregon Initiative Supporter Sues Secretary Of State Over Mass Invalidations Of Signatures

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oregon marijuanaValid Signatures Tossed Out By The Tens Of Thousands Says Oregon IP-24 Chief Petitioner

The Oregon Marijuana Policy Initiative (OMPI) today filed suit in Oregon Circuit Court against Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown in response to her office’s disqualification of tens of thousands of valid signatures on petitions for Initiative Petition 24. IP-24 is a constitutional amendment to end marijuana prohibition for adults.

The suit was filed by attorney Ross Day on behalf of Wolfe and OMPI in Marion County Circuit Court.

The OMPI lawsuit challenges a range of specific methods and reasons used by Brown’s office to disqualify individual voter signatures and entire sheets of up to 10 voter signatures each in a sampling process conducted in June, before the final deadline for signatures on petitions last week. That sampling process invalidated nearly 48% of the 122,000 signatures submitted by May 25 for IP-24, resulting in a historically low validity rate and damaging the initiative’s chance to make the ballot. Other measures submitted at the same time are suffering similarly low validation rates.

“Under the policies of Kate Brown, the Oregon Elections Division works hard to remove every possible signature from initiative petitions and for reasons that make no sense,” said Wolfe. ”Instead, they should be working to include as many signatures as possible, thus preserving citizen access to the ballot through the initiative system, as demanded by the Oregon Constitution.”

The OMPI lawsuit seeks to reopen the state’s validation work on IP-24 so that the measure can legitimately qualify the November ballot based a fair count of valid signatures from Oregon voters.

In total, including the final signature turn-in on July 6, IP-24 sponsors have submitted more than175,000 signatures to the Secretary of State, far above the 116,284 valid voter signatures required to qualify the constitutional amendment. If just 66% of the signatures were deemed valid, IP-24 would hit the November 2012 ballot. But with just 54.1% of signatures found valid in the June sampling process, IP-24 is facing an uphill battle.

“The recently developed policies of the state and of Kate Brown reduce access to the initiative process and make it the province of only the wealthiest special interests,” Wolfe said. “A win for IP-24 would help restore ballot access to all petition sponsors. It is time to shine a bright light on the undemocratic policies and actions of Oregon’s Secretary of State.”

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5 Comments

  1. Jimbo Jacobs on

    Bottom line is that Robert Wolfe made bad decisions. Just a fact that cannot be logically refuted.

  2. They need to fire Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown and get someone in place who is honest and willing to do the job without bias.

  3. I believe the (almost criminally) high invalidation rate is because the state simply doesn’t want this initiative on the ballot and the will do whatever they can, including subverting the democratic process, to achieve this end. It’s more than unfortunate, it’s downright shameful.

  4. Come on Kate……… You and the state of Oregon KNOW that it is past time for Marijuana to be legalized. I am a disabled Vet. I am on narcotics for pain but do not take them I do not like all of the side effects. I can’t get the Oregon MMJ card as it is cost prohibitive. A Dr.s office visit is $150.00 and even with a reduced card cost that is just too much to take away from my family. Other people Veterans and Non-Veterans have similar situations in life. So, even with a document-able need some of us are by definition “criminals” not because we want to be but because the state and you Kate want it that way regardless if what “WE THE PEOPLE” want. Is it greed, Kate or is there an even darker reason that both you and the state have fo wanting to make so many people into criminals?

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