Case Summary

On June 30, 2020, People Not Politicians Oregon filed suit against Bev Clarno in her role as Secretary of State, contending that the ballot measure signature deadline and requirements ought to be amended for 2020 ballot measures as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The Secretary had yet to comply with a request of People Not Politicians Oregon asking that the deadline be moved to August 17 and the signature requirement be reduced to 58,789. People Not Politicians' argument in a district court was made on 1st and 14th Amendment grounds.

People Not Politicians Oregon began gathering signed petitions online on May 13. Proponents had until July 2, 2020, to collect the required signatures. After failing to collect the required number of signatures by the deadline the group filed suit in federal court.

On July 9, Our Oregon stepped in on the side of the Secretary of State, arguing that the requested changes would shrink the timeframe for opposition movements to the potential ballot measure and thereby harm their efforts.

On July 10, a federal judge ordered the Secretary of State to either place the initiative on the 2020 ballot or to move the signature filing deadline back to August 17 and to reduce the number of signatures required to 58,789. The Secretary chose the latter option on July 13. On July 15, the Attorney General of Oregon Ellen Rosenblum challenged the federal judge's decision. The Secretary of State did not join in the appeal request. On July 23, 2020, a Ninth Circuit panel denied the Attorney General's request for an emergency stay.

Rosenblum appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the district judge ought not to have been able to lower the required number of signatures for a ballot measure because only a state government has that power. On August 11, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the Attorney General's request for a stay. The Ninth Circuit ruled on September 2, 2020, that they had insufficient time to resolve all legal issues so the measure would not appear on the ballot in 2020.

Case Library

U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, Eugene Division - 6:20-cv-01053

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit - 20-35630

Supreme Court of the United States - 20A21