What Am I Signing?
Initiative petitions generate ballot measures, if enough (certified) signatures are collected. Beware of “Just sign so it can get on the ballot.” Ballot measures that pass by majority vote become law. Look for:
**Complete proposed ballot measure text
**Cover sheet showing Chief sponsor’s name & residence, filing officer approval
**Signature sheets, white for volunteers, colored for paid gatherers
Before signing, ask yourself:
- Is it complex? – Some are simple yes or no votes. Complex issues may generate thorough legislative examination.
- Is it confusing? – Some initiatives aren’t well-written, requiring court interpretation or resolution.
- Does it belong in our Constitution? – Initiatives can be local, statutory, or constitutional and passage can protect from them from change. Correcting unintended or unforeseen consequences can be cumbersome and costly. Another ballot vote will be needed for constitutional amendments.
- What funding is proposed? – Is this an “unfunded mandate”? Would it force our Legislature to pull funds from other essential programs? How might it limit government budget flexibility? Initiatives should create their own revenue sources- not earmark, restrict, or obligate a specific percentage of the General Fund.
- Who is behind this? – Chief petitioners do not need to be Oregon residents or even US citizens. You can find the other real sponsors and opponents after petitions are certified and given ballot measure numbers. Chief petitioners must document campaign finance transactions with the initiative’s petition committee. These are opened by the Elections Division before the filing officer approves petition circulation. C&E reports (Contribution & Expense) are at: Oregon Elections Division 503.986.1518.
- Before signing, ask for ID. – Paid (not volunteer) signature gatherers are required to carry ID# & photo badges issued by the Secretary of State. Refusal to show ID should lead you to refuse to sign. They are only required to show this to the SoS, BoLI, or AG). If fraud arises, you will have info that could help authorities.
See “Think Before You Ink” our pdf brochure