Initiative and Referendum

ORS 250.085
Procedure for elector dissatisfied with ballot title of state measure

  • Supreme Court review of title


(1)

Any elector dissatisfied with a ballot title prepared by the Legislative Assembly for a measure referred to the people by the assembly and filed with the Secretary of State may petition the Supreme Court seeking a different title. The petition shall state the reasons that the title filed with the Secretary of State does not substantially comply with the requirements of ORS 250.035 (Form of ballot titles for state and local measures).

(2)

Any elector dissatisfied with the latest ballot title for an initiated or referred measure certified by the Attorney General and who timely submitted written comments on the draft ballot title may petition the Supreme Court seeking a different title. The petition shall state the reasons that the title filed with the Secretary of State does not substantially comply with the requirements of ORS 250.035 (Form of ballot titles for state and local measures).

(3)

The petition shall name the Attorney General as the respondent and must be filed:

(a)

Not later than the 10th business day after the Attorney General certifies a ballot title or a corrected ballot title to the Secretary of State, whichever is later; or

(b)

If the title is provided by the Legislative Assembly under ORS 250.075 (Preparation of ballot titles by Legislative Assembly), not later than the 10th business day after the Legislative Assembly files the ballot title with the Secretary of State.

(4)

An elector filing a petition under this section shall notify the Secretary of State in writing that the petition has been filed. The notice must be received in the office of the Secretary of State not later than 5 p.m. on the next business day following the day the petition is filed.

(5)

The Supreme Court shall review the title for substantial compliance with the requirements of ORS 250.035 (Form of ballot titles for state and local measures).

(6)

When reviewing a title certified by the Attorney General, the Supreme Court shall not consider arguments concerning the ballot title not presented in writing to the Secretary of State unless the court determines that the argument concerns language added to or removed from the draft title after expiration of the comment period provided in ORS 250.067 (Notice of draft ballot title).

(7)

The review by the Supreme Court shall be conducted expeditiously to ensure the orderly and timely circulation of the petition or conduct of the election at which the measure is to be submitted to the electors.

(8)

If the Supreme Court determines that the latest ballot title certified by the Attorney General or prepared by the Legislative Assembly substantially complies with the requirements of ORS 250.035 (Form of ballot titles for state and local measures), the court shall certify the title to the Secretary of State. If the Supreme Court determines that the latest ballot title certified by the Attorney General or prepared by the Legislative Assembly does not substantially comply with the requirements of ORS 250.035 (Form of ballot titles for state and local measures), the court shall modify the ballot title and certify the ballot title to the Secretary of State or refer the ballot title to the Attorney General for modification.

(9)

Not later than five business days after the Supreme Court refers a ballot title to the Attorney General under this section, the Attorney General shall file a modified ballot title with the Supreme Court and serve copies of the modified ballot title on all parties to the ballot title review proceeding. If no party to the ballot title review proceeding files an objection to the modified ballot title within five business days after the date the modified ballot title is filed, the Supreme Court shall certify the modified ballot title to the Secretary of State and enter an appellate judgment the next judicial day. If any of the parties to the ballot title review proceeding timely files a petition objecting to the modified ballot title, the Supreme Court shall review the modified ballot title to determine whether the modified ballot title substantially complies with the requirements of ORS 250.035 (Form of ballot titles for state and local measures).

(10)

Upon the filing of a petition under subsection (9) of this section objecting to a modified ballot title:

(a)

If the Supreme Court determines that the modified ballot title substantially complies with the requirements of ORS 250.035 (Form of ballot titles for state and local measures), the court shall certify the modified ballot title to the Secretary of State; or

(b)

If the Supreme Court determines that the modified ballot title does not substantially comply with the requirements of ORS 250.035 (Form of ballot titles for state and local measures), the court shall modify the ballot title and certify the ballot title to the Secretary of State or refer the modified ballot title to the Attorney General for additional modification and further proceedings under subsection (9) of this section. [Formerly 254.077; 1983 c.514 §9; 1985 c.447 §6; 1987 c.519 §2; 1989 c.503 §6; 1993 c.493 §96; 1995 c.534 §2; 2001 c.802 §2; 2007 c.159 §2]

See also annotations under ORS 254.077 in permanent edition.

Notes of Decisions

Although Supreme Court was not empowered to change proposed title merely because it was of opinion that it could write "better" title, it could correct proposed title which failed to satisfy requirements of this section and [former] ORS 254.070. Allison v. Paulus, 280 Or 197, 570 P2d 368 (1977)

Duty of court is to determine whether ballot title is "concise and impartial statement of the purpose of the measure" and is neither "insufficient" nor "unfair" and is not to determine if petitioners proposed ballot title is "better" or whether court could devise a better ballot title. Priestley v. Paulus, 287 Or 141, 597 P2d 829 (1979)

The statutorily imposed 75 word limit requires exercise of judgment in choosing what subjects must go unmentioned where proposed measure covers too many subjects to permit mention of all. Priestley v. Paulus, 287 Or 141, 597 P2d 829 (1979)

Where same commodity is commonly referred to by differing names, use of differing names for commodity in caption, summary and description is not misleading. Miller v. Paulus, 292 Or 723, 642 P2d 665 (1982)

Ballot title for proposed initiative to amend Oregon Constitution which used section numbers rather than words to describe principles at issue was "insufficient." Hall v. Paulus, 292 Or 787, 643 P2d 343 (1982)

It is not province of Attorney General to provide a title to make clear that which is not clear in measure itself. Pacific Power & Light v. Paulus, 292 Or 826, 643 P2d 871 (1982)

This section provides exclusive procedure for challenge to sufficiency and fairness of ballot titles and, therefore, plaintiffs' complaint was properly dismissed where they sought order preventing Secretary of State from placing measure on ballot because of mistake by Attorney General in preparing ballot title. Ecumenical Ministries v. Paulus, 298 Or 62, 688 P2d 1339 (1984)

In any challenge to ballot title brought under this section, petitioner must show that petitioner commented under procedures set out in ORS 250.067 to effect that proposed ballot title did not substantially comply with statutory requirements. Kafoury v. Roberts, 303 Or 306, 736 P2d 178 (1987); McMurdo v. Roberts, 309 Or 318, 786 P2d 1268 (1990); Blumenauer v. Keisling, 313 Or 10, 828 P2d 1032 (1992)

Where Attorney General chose two potential secondary effects from universe of such effects and placed them in ballot title Explanation, ballot title was modified to exclude potential secondary effects. Oregon Citizen's Alliance v. Roberts, 308 Or 599, 783 P2d 1001 (1989)

Where petitioners challenging ballot title had not previously submitted timely written comments on draft ballot title, petitions for review of ballot title dismissed. Ransom v. Roberts, 309 Or 461, 788 P2d 455 (1990)

None of petitioners were entitled to bring proceeding challenging ballot title for initiative measure described as "Mobilehome Owners Bill of Rights" because two petitioners did not file comments and arguments with Secretary of State, Oregon Mobilehome Park Association was not "elector" as defined by ORS 250.005 and remaining petitioner did not file comments and arguments with Secretary of State in individual capacity. Brown v. Roberts, 309 Or 667, 791 P2d 488 (1990)

Elector who submitted comment in capacity as representative of interest group and not in his individual capacity does not satisfy precondition of statute. Donnell v. Keisling, 313 Or 66, 828 P2d 456 (1992)

Where statutorily imposed word limitation on title prevents inclusion of all subjects in complex measure, certified ballot title substantially complies with requirements of statute. Crumpton v. Keisling, 317 Or 322, 855 P2d 1107 (1993)

Requirement that court certify ballot title applies only if court first reviews adequacy of title. McCoid v. Kulongoski, 321 Or 452, 900 P2d 1028 (1995)

Judicial review of challenged initiative ballot titles for compliance with statutory requirements does not violate separation of powers by infringing on legislative power reserved to people. Rooney v. Kulongoski (Elections Division #13), 322 Or 15, 902 P2d 1143 (1995)

Wording change sought during judicial review could vary from change sought during comment period if based on same argument as argument made during comment period. Adams v. Kulongoski, 322 Or 122, 902 P2d 1191 (1995)

Failure to strictly comply with time limit for providing written notice to Secretary of State of petition for ballot title review requires dismissal of petition. Sizemore v. Myers, 327 Or 71, 957 P2d 577 (1998)

Receipt of notice by Oregon Department of Administrative Services mail service does not constitute receipt of notice by Secretary of State. Mabon v. Myers, 329 Or 1, 984 P2d 278 (1999)

Where person did not timely submit comments or challenge ballot title, person may not use status as intervenor in proceeding challenging ballot title to introduce new comments or challenges. Nelson v. Myers, 330 Or 92, 996 P2d 975 (2000)

Where court improperly addresses issue not contained in arguments regarding ballot title, remedy is to refer ballot title to Attorney General for modification at discretion of Attorney General. Crew/Garcia v. Myers, 336 Or 635, 89 P3d 1181 (2004)

Where error occurs in certification process and Attorney General timely notifies court and interested parties of proposed correction, court will consider objections to proposed corrected wording. Carley/Towers v. Myers, 340 Or 222, 132 P3d 651 (2006)

Entirety of statutory process for placing proposed statewide initiative measure on ballot is relevant to determining Supreme Court's authority to engage in ballot title review, not just specific requirements of this section in isolation. Unger v. Rosenblum, 362 Or 210, 407 P3d 817 (2017)

Although Attorney General issued certified ballot title, fact that number of statutory prerequisites to Supreme Court's review of legal sufficiency of ballot title had not been satisfied meant that Supreme Court lacked authority to review ballot title. Unger v. Rosenblum, 362 Or 210, 407 P3d 817 (2017)

Law Review Citations

75 OLR 561 (1996); 34 WLR 143 (1998)

Chapter 250

Notes of Decisions

Initiative measure filed in election cycle must satisfy all statutory and constitutional requirements and be placed on ballot in that election cycle; if proponents wish to put measure on ballot at another election, they must start initiative process over during next election cycle. Unger v. Rosenblum, 362 Or 210, 407 P3d 817 (2017)

Law Review Citations

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


Source

Last accessed
Jun. 26, 2021