Unger v. Rosenblum

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Ballot Titles
  • Date Filed: 09-14-2017
  • Case #: S064987
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Kistler, J. for the Court; En Banc.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 250.035(2)(a), a ballot title caption must reasonably identify the subject matter of a state measure in fifteen words or fewer.

Petitioner appealed the Attorney General's certified ballot title for Initiative Petition 2 (2018). On appeal, Plaintiff argued the ballot caption does not substantially comply with statutory requirements because it omits one of the major effects, the Secretary of State's charge of creating and administering a website, from the caption title. In response, the Attorney General responded that the caption adequately addresses the website requirement within the required word limit. Under ORS 250.035(2)(a), a ballot title caption must reasonably identify the subject matter of a state measure in fifteen words or fewer. For purposes of this statute, "subject matter" refers to the ballot's actual major effect and if there is more than one major effect, all effects must be adequately described. Blosser/Romain v. Rosenblum (IP 45), 358 Or 295, 300, 365 P3d 525 (2015). The Oregon Supreme Court determined the ballot title's caption did not adequately describe both of the major effects and held that it was possible to include that information within the allotted word limit. Ballot title referred to Attorney General for modification.

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