Carson v. Kroger

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Ballot Titles
  • Date Filed: 01-12-2012
  • Case #: S059719
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Landau, J. for the Court; En Banc.
  • Full Text Opinion

A "no" vote result statement under ORS 250.035(2) must be a simple and understandable statement under 25 words that describes the result of a "no" vote, or a rejection of the measure.

Carson and Thorpe sought review of the ballot title for Initiative Petition 22 arguing that the ballot title was deficient with respect to the caption, the "yes" and "no" vote result statements, and the ballot title summary. ORS 250.035(2)(a) required that a proposed constitutional amendment begin with the words "Amends Constitution," followed by a short description of 15 words or less that reasonably identified the subject matter. The Court found that the caption satisfied the requirements of ORS 250.035(2)(a). The Court also found that the "yes" vote result statement also complied with the requirements of ORS 250.035(b). However, the “no” vote did not comply. A "no" vote result statement must be a simple and understandable statement under 25 words that described the result if the measure was rejected. The Supreme Court held that the "no" statement in the Initiative was so broad and ambiguous that it provided no helpful information to voters. For example, the “no” vote description described constitutional rights that were not actually a right, and the term full legal rights” was ambiguous, misleading, and unclear. Referred to the Attorney General for modification.

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