Cross v. Rosenblum

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Ballot Titles
  • Date Filed: 04-22-2016
  • Case #: S063863
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Walters, J. for the Court, En Banc
  • Full Text Opinion

The Attorney General’s certified ballot title must include a caption that reasonably identifies the subject matter even if the subject matter would be obvious to voters, the consequences are adequately described, and the limitations are described.

Petitioners seek review of the Attorney General’s certified ballot title for Initiative Petition 61 (2016) arguing that the ballot title did not satisfy the requirements of ORS 250.085(5). The fact that the subject matter of a measure would be obvious to voters is a not valid justification for failing to identify it in the caption. ORS 250.035(2)(a) requires that the caption reasonably identify the subject matter even if the subject matter would be obvious to voters. The word limit under ORS 250.035(2)(a) may not allow the Attorney General to annotate multiple terms, but the statute does allow for the terms to be treated equally. Regarding the specific petition it is important that the consequences are accurately described in the summary in order to provide voters with enough information to understand what would happen if the measure was approved and the “breadth of its impact.” Also the Attorney General must revise the summary in order to describe the limitations. The ballot title is referred to the Attorney General for modification.

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