A novel approach to get petition signatures: the drive-through

Article subtitle: 
Group plans drive-through to try to overturn driver's card legislation
Article author: 
Carol McAlice Currie
Article publisher: 
Article date: 
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Article category: 
Oregon Issues
Article Body: 

A group dedicated to overturning a new Oregon law that grants driver-privilege cards to people without conventional documentation has come up with a quick way to gather petition signatures.

It’s encouraging motorists to participate in drive-through democracy.

“You don’t even need to get out of your car,” said Jim Ludwick, the group’s communications director. “Just drive up, sign the petition and drive away.”

From noon to 8 p.m. today, Oregonians for Immigration Reform will set up cones and signs in a parking lot near its billboard at Market Street and Savage Road NE, which is west of Interstate 5 in Salem.

Volunteers will be ready with petitions for motorists to sign as well as supplies for those who want to gather additional signatures among their friends, neighbors and family, Ludwick said.

The group is trying to overturn Oregon Senate Bill 833, which Gov. John Kitzhaber signed into law in May in front of thousands of cheering supporters at the Capitol. The bill authorized driver’s cards for those lacking documents to obtain a regular driver’s license.

OFIR contends that the law gives driver privilege cards to people who are in the country illegally.

Kitzhaber said at the time that SB-833 ensured that thousands of Oregonians could drive to and from work, school, church and errands.

Ludwick said his group needs to collect 58,142 valid signatures to submit to the Oregon Secretary of State’s office by the Oct. 4 deadline.

“We are very optimistic we’ll meet the number,” Ludwick said. “We have had an amazing number (121) of unsolicited requests for these petitions from cities across the state.”

Jan Flowers, a compliance specialist with the elections division of the Secretary of State’s office, said she wasn’t aware of other groups collecting signatures via a drive-up queue, but she said it was a legal signature-gathering technique.

“As long as they witness the signature, it’s no different than if someone walked up and signed,” Flowers said.

Oregonians for Immigration Reform also will staff a booth outside of the southeast corner of the Columbia Exhibit Hall at the Oregon State Fair, which opens today.

Petition drive

What: Drive-through signature gathering
Where: [West of I-5 Exit 256] Market Street and Savage Road NE
When: noon to 8 p.m. today
Why: To qualify ballot measure to overturn Senate Bill 833