Readers of some of the election law blogs that I subscribe to are debating a recent Oklahoma court decision that upheld a ban on out of state petition circulators. According to Richard Winger, the OK Secretary of State's office argues that they cannot check the validity of petitions unless they can interview the circulators.
The opinions of the posters on Winger's blog are pretty uniform--this is an unconstitutional violation of free speech rights. Debate on Rick Hasen's Election Law listserv is a bit more balanced, perhaps reflecting its wider readership. On professor makes this interesting argument: A state can define the members of its political community, including voters, legislators, and persons acting in a quasi-public or quasi-legislative capacity, such as petition circulators. Contributors and press secretaries or political consultants don't serve the same functions. Moreover, their testimony isn't needed by challengers to determine the validity of signatures, and they don't have to be within the subpoena power of the courts.
Why is this relevant to Blue Oregon? As every citizen here knows, Oregon has become ground zero for crazy rich Nevadans (and others) who want to foist their ideas on the public. Since the entry barriers to the Oregon ballot are (relatively) low, we become a target for all sorts of experimentation.
A few proposals to reform the initiative and referendum process were proposed in the last legislative session, but they got nowhere. These proposals run smack into Oregon's proud progressive (the early 20th century version) tradition of citizen run government.
We can look forward to another six months of annoying petitioners knocking on our doors, bothering us on street corners, accosting us at public gatherings, all mainly funded by deep pocketed out of state interests.