Officials begin verifying driver card referendum petitions

Article author: 
Carol McAlice Currie
Article publisher: 
Statesman Journal
Article date: 
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Article category: 
Oregon Issues
Article Body: 

Volunteers from multiple organizations showed up Monday to observe workers in the Secretary of State’s Elections Office begin the process of certifying signed petitions for a 2014 ballot referendum.

State compliance specialist Summer Davis and her staff of two were outnumbered by volunteers with the civil-rights group Causa Oregon, one from the Oregon Safe Road Coalition, and one from Oregonians for Immigration Reform as the employees began checking signed petitions for adherence to state law. Davis said the staff was looking for compliance in areas such as whether or not the petition was signed by the signature gatherer, if the document was dated and whether it included the correct referendum number.

OFIR, which wants voters, not lawmakers, to decide whether residents without documentation should be granted driver privilege cards, needs 58,142 valid signatures to delay the January implementation of a new state law allowing the cards. The group’s Referendum No. 301, if certified for next November’s election, would prevent a law signed by Gov. John Kitzhaber in May from taking effect. If the group does not have enough valid signatures to qualify the referendum for the November ballot, the new law will begin the first of the new year. It is similar to laws already in place or being implemented in Washington, Utah, Maryland, Illinois and New Mexico.

Davis expects the state will begin comparing signatures in a representative sample to those of registered voters next week.