Public comment requested on proposed elections changes

Salem, Ore.- Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson is asking the public for input on three proposed rules he wants to institute to improve the elections process.

A hearing will be held in Salem Friday, and written comments can be submitted until Sept. 14, on the following proposals:

165-014-0005 and 165-014-0030 – These Grassroots Petitioning Rules empower grassroots petitioners by allowing circulation of modified prospective petition sheets during the ballot title approval process. The full text of the measure must be attached, and petitioners must comply with the same requirements that apply after a ballot title is finalized. The purpose of this change is to prevent wealthy special interest groups from manipulating the initiative process through frivolous lawsuits on ballot titles that obstruct and delay signature gathering.

165-014-0034 – Lifts artificial 2,000-signature administrative cap on sponsorship template signatures turned in before October 1, 2017. This allows petitioners currently awaiting a final ballot title to circulate petitions until the Grassroots Petitioning Rule is adopted.

165-014-0275 – Clarifies that signature lines with optional information that appears to have been completed by a member of the same household will not be rejected. For example, in 2016, the current rule required rejection of these signatures turned in by Ben Unger for IP 28 (Measure 97). This clarification will allow such signatures to be counted in the future since they do not appear to be fraudulent but were situations where a member of the same household filled out optional information for both themselves and another member of their household.

165-005-0170 – Updates Oregon Motor Voter (OMV) process to implement 16-year-old preregistration, ensures full privacy protections for minors’ voter registration information, and reduces mailing costs by moving from a two-page to a one-page OMV mailer.

The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 25 in Basement Conference Room #C of the Public Service Building at 255 Capitol Street NE in Salem. Written comments may be submitted until 5 p.m., Sept. 14. They can be sent to: Elections Division, 255 Capitol Street NE, Suite 501, Salem, OR 97310.

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