Day of the Wolfe

Carla Hanson

Politics makes very odd bedfellows, so the saying goes, and the dated cliche is vivdly apparent in the overblown kerfuffle with Progressive Party nominee Bob Wolfe and conservative activist Ross Day linking up to blow smoke rings at SOS Kate Brown. Wolfe, chief petitioner of the derailed initiative to Constitutionally legalize pot, has as his legal champion Ross Day, conservative activist and local attorney.

Day is the owner/operator of Vote Oregon, LLC, and served as Executive Director of Common Sense Oregon, an organization that made its first media mark by calling out Oregon prisons for providing soda to prisoners. Really. The Vote Oregon website describes itself as the "Voice Of The Electorate, LLC is the premier petition circulation and canvassing company in the state of Oregon." Right now, Vote Oregon identifies no current measures under its sponsorship on its website. Common Sense was an early supporter of Kevin Mannix's Measure 84, not surprisingly, a measure designed to reduce the taxes on the top 1%.

Day is intimate with the Oregon initiative process. In Sept. of 2006, Day filed 11 identical initiative petitions with different ballot titles. This practice, called "ballot title shopping," was done so petitioners could "shop" different titles and discover which title seemed most favorable to potential signers. The practice has since been prohibited. in 2009, Day was a chief petitioner on no less than 10 initiative petitions, teaming up with several others including old pro Mannix. Day was also one of the authors of Measure 37, the ill-fated land use initiative that passed in 2004 and had to be modified via Measure 49 just 3 years later in the Nov. 2007 Special Election. In 2006, Day ran unsuccessfully for a judgeship in Marion County.

Day has recently left Common Sense to open his own law practice in SW Portland, Day Law Group. The firm's website states: "Although Day Law Group, P.C. represents clients in virtually every form of litigation, Day Law Group specializes in situations where an individual or business is under attack by a government agency." One of Day's clients is SmartRaiser, a firm that has been cited around the nation in scam alerts, including here in Oregon by former AG John Kroger. The for-profit firm's MO utilizes door-to-door canvassers to obtain donations to send "care" packages to troops. Another client is Wolfe, who seems to be keeping Day pretty busy.

In early September, Wolfe/Day lost round 1 when Marion County Circuit Judge Mary Mertens James ruled "(SOS) Brown operated within the broad scope of the authority given her by the Legislature when she invalidated signatures that were duplicates, illegible or from people not registered to vote". (Oregonian 9/5/12). This particular ruling rejected Wolfe's attempt to be granted a temporary restraining order that would have forced the SOS to put his measure on the ballot.

Day is whip-smart, and clearly well aware of ORS. A read of the Judge's ruling makes it abundantly apparent that there was not the slightest chance that Brown had stretched her authority. One of the complaints trumpeted by Wolfe supporters is their contention that "inactive" voters were unfairly rejected as signers. Not only did the Oregon Supreme Court itself determine that a petition signer must be an eligible voter at the moment a petition is signed (Sajo.V. Paulus, 1984), but Day recognizes that himself. The Vote Oregon website states:

"Only registered, active voters can sign the petition. If you don't know if you are a registered, active voter, we suggest you contact your county elections official, which is usually the county clerk."

So what is up with this strange odd couple? There is political upside for both; in raising enough ruckus to potentially take down an incumbent in high level elected office, they gain merit badges among their compatriots in their separate circles. Being a spoiler garners a certain amount of appreciation. Wolfe connecting with Day makes a world of sense because of Day's familiarity with the Oregon initiative system. Day is one of the smartest guys he could have put on the job, and the battles are not over, yet.

But the upside may be even better for Day. He is a rising GOP star. He's energetic, innovative and has built a stellar conservative resume in a relatively short amount of time. There is virtually no baggage associated with marijuana initiatives anymore, and increasingly, individual Republican candidates are supporting Measure 80. Teaming up with a progressive to take down an incumbent is a means worth the end to a conservative.

But they are trying to accomplish that take down with smoke and mirrors, bitterly complaining about a non-existent unfairness, and both the conservative and the progressive hope they fool enough progressives into believing their yarn.

How many Progressives/progressives are being fooled? Stay tuned.

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    Judge Mertens James letter of decision:

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        Read the Mertens James memo linked above. The Oregon Supreme Court CLEARLY spoke directly to the issue of "inactive" voters .

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          I presume you are referring to Sajo v. Paulus, 297 Or. 646, 660 (1984) cited in the memo you linked above at the top of page 10. In that case section III C says:


          "Petitioners claim the county clerk erroneously declared invalid the signatures of 34 persons who were registered at the time the petition was signed but whose names had subsequently been removed from the active voter files.

          "ORS 250.025 provides: "Any elector may sign an initiative or referendum petition for any measure on which the elector is entitled to vote." Under Article II, section 2 of the Oregon Constitution a person becomes a qualified elector if he is a citizen of the United States, is 18 years of age or older, meets the residency requirement and "[i]s registered prior to the election in the manner provided by law." If he is a qualified elector at the time of signing the petition, the signature is not invalid because his name may later be removed from the active voter file.

          "Defendant Secretary of State takes no position on this issue except to point out that county clerks would have to check the file of purged voter registration cards to determine whether a particular individual's registration card had been purged subsequent to the signing of the petition. She argues that this would significantly delay the verification process. That may be true, but the statutory and constitutional provisions cannot be avoided for the sake of speed and efficiency. The signatures of the 34 persons who were registered at the time the petition was signed but whose names had subsequently been removed from the active voter files should not have been invalidated for that reason." (emphasis added)

          In your memo, however, it cites from section D, not C. Section D relates to registration after signing, not the issue of active and inactive registration. It appears that the memo made a gross error and skipped over section C and read only section D and used a separate argument to say that "manner prescribed by law" allows the Secretary to interpret "eligibility" rather loosely. Section C did not allow this interpretation, however.

          The Supreme Court did cover this issue and appears to agree with Mr. Wolfe specifically.

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            The category of "inactive registered voters" did not exist in 1984. The Sajo case did not pertain to such voters, because there was no such category. It was created by statute later.

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              Aren't "purged" and "inactive" rather related in concept? I would think the SC's arguments regarding purging would apply to inactive voters, too.

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                I see also that the purging relates to those who are purged after signing the petition but before verification. I guess then that this is a new concept not addressed by the Supreme Court directly as you posted.

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          What I meant is that no appellate level court has so ruled.

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    One of the problems I have always had with the far left is their willingness to cooperate with the far right in destroying the center.

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      Frankly, the initiative process has been used for much nefarious activity in this state. I find it alarming that there's an effort to loosen it here rather than tighten it.

      There ought to be a high threshold to change the law in Oregon.

      I'm a proponent of campaign finance reform--and would love to find a good way to have restrictions and greater transparency. But I don't think it's something that we should adopt without a comprehensive statewide conversation and it shouldn't be done easily. Loosening initiative restrictions would make it that much easier.

      I don't get the sense at all that Carla is smearing. So let's just stop with the accusatory stuff now. And I'm not terribly sympathetic to the argument that the Republicans can't get their issues heard or passed. Come spend a month in Washington County and watch the GOP-led County Commission continue to obliterate our area.

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        It's an article about guilt by association between "Day" and "Wolfe"; it's even in the title.

        If a Democrat works with a Republican "across the aisle" to get meaningful reform on something passed (as you mention we should be having such a "comprehensive statewide conversation"), it's good, but only if your guy does it.

        I think I got it figured out now.

        The ballot measures did get the conversation going. Kate Brown dropped the ball and ensured her office didn't do a damn thing about campaign finance reform. How is this "comprehensive" talk going to happen if none of the Dems are going to act on it? With corrupted legislators and state executive officers? Please. If campaign finance reform were on the table at the legislature or in your party they would have done something about it. As it is, we've had it pass three different times by initiative and each time the croney courts worked out a way to punt on it and let the elected officials off the hook despite Oregon being a nearly lone holdout on any campaign finance reform at all.

        Crazily, the Republicans are actually working on this issue and placed Knute at the top of their state-level ticket. You've got to be kidding me that you want your party to give up this issue to them and lose control of this seat. Hell, even Obama laid some smack down about Citizens United. Here in Oregon the Dems are silent even on direct donations. What gives?

        I entered the race to provide another excuse for Kate to come out in favor of meaningful campaign finance reform or risk losing her seat. Nothing at all is coming from her camp. Nothing. She promised four years ago to do something, anything. She lost the Independent Party endorsement as a result of inaction and what's going to happen now? She's losing newspaper endorsement after newspaper endorsement to Knute while he continues to raise more money. Will he hold true to his history and be a moderate and fair executor of the office? Will you have another Rob McKenna situation where you've created a credible challenger for the Governorship?

        This is the issue that activates young voters. I wouldn't be surprised if Kate manages to lose the election thanks to Cannabis and Youth voters voting for Bob and myself. That might in fact be better for everybody in the long run. Kate refused to learn a lesson in 2008.

        In 2009 I told people in the Green Party that Kate made promises to do meaningful reform and said I wasn't going to challenge her again if that proved fruitful. I went to working on local election reform figuring she had it covered. Nope. Zilch happened.

        Think about what you're going to do in the long run to try and recover your own party from big donor greed. Perhaps there's still time this election cycle to dial her up and coax a change of heart from her. Have you thought about that? Apparently she didn't care about the 3% I took from her last time. Maybe she'll listen to you.

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          "If a Democrat works with a Republican "across the aisle" to get meaningful reform on something passed (as you mention we should be having such a "comprehensive statewide conversation"), it's good, but only if your guy does it."


          If it's good policy and process, I don't care if they're a D or an R or an NAV or whatever flavor. I'm not a party person--I don't much care for participating in party activity. I'm a policy person.

          The policy changes aren't going to happen unless we change the first amendment clause in the Oregon Constitution--and yes, that has to happen through a ballot measure. But that should be a very difficult process--and right now it isn't. Evidenced by Measure 36.

          If you're truly interested in reform Seth--you're going to have to do better than strident accusations and complaining that things are too hard. It should be HARD. Changing the Constitution should be a process that Oregonians have to work extra hard for.

          You're making a lot of accusations about Brown..and very little in the way of backing the up with anything but because you say so. Maybe Brown will lose, but it won't be because of your word, I think.

          Think about what you're trying to accomplish--and get out of your screechy box. Very few people are actually going to take seriously someone who approaches them the way you are now.

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            Bob and Day were working across the aisle and I was sarcastically pointing out the hypocrisy. Maybe you misinterpreted it?

            You correctly point out that I made an assertion that she hasn't done anything, but I didn't expect to be called out on it since the obvious reply would be to point out where action happened.

            If she had done anything on it, she would have explained what she has done at previous forums. Dan Meek has personally stated and was quoted by press that Brown has done nothing rather clearly, and he's quite an authority on doing something on this issue.

            Proving a negative is rather hard, but in this case it's quite falsifiable. If you have any evidence she's going to do something, now's the time to bring it up. For what it's worth, I don't think it's necessary to change the constitution. It's rather identical to other states with limits and Vanetta I should be revisited as the recent minority opinion stated. Further direct challenges should lead to its overturning without an amendment. I'd welcome a constitutional amendment, too, but Kate didn't do anything on that.

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              You don't think it's necessary to change the constitution? Well congrats, I guess. But the Oregon Supreme Court doesn't agree with you.

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                The court decision was based on absurd technicalities imagined by the state that allowed Brown to avoid enforcement while not taking up the issue of constitutionality directly. A small statutory or even interpretive change may be enough to get around the decision. Do you bother reading the cases? Why change language that doesn't bar campaign finance limits? Case law is inconsistent regarding money, property, and speech. A review of the Vanetta I decision is ripe. I'd support an amendment just to settle the issue to clarify, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary. After all, for about half of that language's time in our Constitution, we had limits, as do plenty of other states with similar or identical language. If we had smarter judges, too, this wouldn't have been a problem.

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                Incorrect, again. The Oregon Supreme Court two weeks ago did not address the constitutionality of the limits in Measure 47. The Court concluded that the issue had not been presented in a justiciable manner.

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        A "comprehensive statewide conversation" about limits on political campaign contributions has been going on for over 100 years. Oregon voters enacted such limits in 1908, and they were in effect until the Oregon Legislature repealed them in 1973. Oregon voters again enacted contribution limits in 1994 and 2006, which were (1) struck down and (2) placed in limbo. The Oregon Legislature has never enacted contribution limits, for the obvious reason that officeholders who are elected under a system dominated by big money do not want to change the system that elected them.

        Asking for a never-ending "statewide conversation" is just a way of doing nothing.

        Also, the above comment by Carla appears to be defective. It starts as a Carla comment but then somehow becomes a comment about Carla. I think it needs to be fixed.

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          I'm not familiar with the 1973 or 1994 cases, so I can't speak to those.

          But it seems to me that in the case of the 2006 example, the voters didn't choose to amend the constitution to allow the second measure to kick in. It was the voters, not the court, that put that situation into limbo.

          And expecting people who aren't wonky to understand a conversation that began 100 years ago--that impacts them now--is absurd. "Well gee, sorry you're not up on the 100 years of this already, but too damn bad, we're doing it anyway." You seriously expect people to buy into that?

          You either care about educating people about how this issue in a serious way that doesn't talk down to them, or you don't. Based on what I've read in this thread so far by's the latter.

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          FYI, two different Carlas here, Axtman and Hanson. Axtman, the commenter, is referring to Hanson, the original article author I was referring to in my original comment, in the last paragraph.

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      Read the Merten James memo. This is not me posturing; this is Oregon Supreme Court finding.

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        Please see my comment above replying to your other reference to this memo where I show that the Supreme Court agreed with Wolfe and the memo was clearly in error.

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          The thing is, I'm not the one referring to the 1984 decision, the Judge is.

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            They weren't referring to inactive voters. The Constitution itself defines what a qualified voter is and then the ORS reverses the definition to exclude "inactive" voters who are by Constitution still qualified by the original meaning. That's an easy challenge, and it has never been challenged yet. A quick memo in favor of the state not by the Supreme Court itself is not a complete look at the issue.

            Judicial deference to the state in injunction cases regarding elections is extremely common. They are overturned quite often.

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              Geezus, Seth, the JUDGE referred to it, not me. Argue with her for gawd's sake.

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                Aren't you relying on the judge to say Kate Brown's interpretation is correct?

                I am voting for Kate and have given her a little money b/c Knute Buehler is even more anti-Democratic but she is exercising discretion in this case in a way I don't like personally, and she has her own bad history around restricting political participation with the ridiculous law about people who had voted in primaries not being able to sign candidate petitions that she promoted when she was in the Senate. She was my senator and I was part of her original 7 vote majority back in the day, generally I like her, but apparently her partisanship runs away with her on political participation issues.

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      "While criticizing Mr. Wolfe, or any other progressive third-party candidate, for ultimately helping Republicans get elected is fair..."

      It's not fair when the Democrats spoil their own election with policies from the right. It's not fair when we have a constitutional right to use ranked ballots (OR Const Art II Sec 16) that end the spoiler effect. It's not fair when the Dems have worked hard to stop election method reform and campaign finance reform at every turn. Let's be clear about what real fairness means.

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      We're happy to publish a response from him. But the allegations contained therein need to be sourced.

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    I think Kate Brown does her job with integrity. I trust her to do that, but I am glad that a judge looked into this and ruled on it. Paul Stanford didn't seem to have the same problems with his petition. If Wolfe's ultimate goal is legalization, why doesn't he put his energy into supporting BM 80?

    The initiative process, while precious, has wreaked havoc with our state. I agree with Carla that we should not be looking for ways to make it easier to put things on the ballot. Kate's right on this one.

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      Stanford ran into similar problems but they managed to get around them by going into debt at the last minute and turn up the collection rate after finding their petitions were being thrown out due to similar arbitrary and anti-signature processes. Thousands of signatures were thrown out for minor technicalities that they didn't realize until they were turned in and the sheets were not returned to be corrected and recounted. That was just one example. M80's verification rate was also extremely low. Why would you assume they didn't run into similar issues just because they managed to make the ballot?

      Bob and Paul have entirely different legalization methods. As such, they have different pros and cons. Having both on the ballot would have been fascinating.

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      The measures with different. EMO points out that the current one puts the contemplated pot/hemp industry in complete control of the agency that's supposed to regulate it (imagine if alcohol producers and the restaurant association controlled the OLCC). I probably will vote against it for that reason.

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    Ya know, folks, while you are busy criticizing me, you fail to recognize that all I did is put together facts, and the piece I was most reliant on was the finding from Judge Mertens James herself. Crying about "restricting ballot access" doesn't fly when there were significant problems with so many signatures.

    Tell me, how is it fair to Oregonians directly, or the good of democracy more broadly, when signing an initiative petition resembles casting votes for American idol contenders?

    The same system qualified a load of ballot measures, and every measure went through an identical rigorous process.

    So, while you may cry foul about the particulars of a system that is disallowed from counting inactive voter signatures, the 14% difference between the Wolfe validation rate and other measures was caused by one of 2 things.

    Either the SOS office "picked on" Wolfe, or there was pretty shabby oversight internally w/in Wolfe's operation during the signature gathering process. There's no question that equal standards were applied to all initiative petitions, so that leaves you with one logical conclusion - the signature gathering team was poorly trained, not well supervised and were inattentive to the rules by which other petitioners managed to navigate.

    But instead of taking responsibility fully, and understanding that as a leader, the buck stops with him, Wolfe chooses to blame Brown and her staff, and go full out attacking Brown by any means necessary, and employ a well know right wing activist to be his pit bull. What, you think I shouldn't mention this at all?!

    The splendid irony in all this hand-winging is that Wolfe's own access to the ballot as an SOS nominee was remarkably easy road that required about a dozen people nodding ok, and selecting him as "their' party nominee... but that's for another post.

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      Actually it required only three people to give him the nod. Those dozen or so people were mere advisers to the three person caucus. The process changes once they have more than 2000 registered voters in their party, which they are fairly close to.

      As I have filed a law suit against Brown regarding ballot access, however, I can tell you it's not as easy as you make it out to be, especially since their office changed their minds on us in an arbitrary and capricious manner. I'm not sure why you bring this up though, as the ballot access laws were made easier by action of courts striking down more restrictive access statutes created by a self-protective legislature, demonstrating the inadequacy of corrupt legislatures again.

      In one funny irony as well because they are between 10,300 and 1400 or so registered voters (numbers change every month), they have to get 1% in a statewide race or they will be thrown off the ballot, so they will be thrown off if Wolfe or Whitten do not either manage 1%.

      So yes, his own ballot access in the future is not trivial either, as they need around 16,000 votes to remain qualified. But if the ballot access laws were not designed this funny way with an odd definition of electoral success, the statewide offices wouldn't be so vulnerable to third parties.

      As far as the rest of your argument, Wolfe has merits apart from your listed possibilities. It's not just about equal application, but the correct application of the law.

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        3! I certainly gave benefit of the doubt!

        I'd not ever assume lawsuits were easy, but the current PP nomination process was indeed a breeze, comparatively speaking, and despite potentially higher bars in the future, Wolfe does have himself quite a soapbox for the time being.

        In regards to other merits of the Wolfe's legal challenges, the Mertens James memo did address and note that the SOS was following ORS which specifically directs the SOS to establish rules or review, for lack of better phraseology.

        I'm not sure where else Wolfe and his team can go from there, but, he's the plaintiff, so he can go on as long as a there's briefs to file and courts to which he can appeal...

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      Wrong again. Creating a minor party in Oregon requires about 21,000 valid voter signatures, not just a dozen people nodding ok.

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        You are really on a tear there, Dan, and not on the same page. The 12 Progressive Party people recommended to the 3 people the PP nomination of Wolfe for the SOS... not creating the Party.

        Thanks to Seth for filling in the gap that had not been clear in the PP's online info.

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          Wrong again. You have no knowledge of the process used by the Oregon Progressive Party to nominate candidates. Also, you said, "The splendid irony in all this hand-winging is that Wolfe's own access to the ballot as an SOS nominee was remarkably easy road that required about a dozen people nodding ok, and selecting him as `their' party nominee..." You were not referring only to the 2012 nomination process. Wolfe's "access to the ballot" required a signature drive in 2008 to create the party.

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            Are you kidding me? It's on their own website and in their ByLaws, which happen to be posted on the SOS site. How do I know 12 folks were involved? They posted THAT meeting on their PP Facebook page.

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              Among the things we posted was a photo of part of the group at the meeting. Carla assumes, falsely, that was the entire group. Nice try, Carla. You also have no knowledge of how our membership voting on nominations works. Do you think that personal attendance at a meeting is required?

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                What do you mean "our membership"?! You are the Indy Party, are you not? Does being Wolfe's lawyer entitle you to dual partyship?

                And Seth Woolley actually noted that the 12 people I originally referred simply made recommendation to the 3 of the PP that designated Wolfe as the Nominee.

                But I am way more interested in your "our membership" comment. Please explain.

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      From my perspective it looked like a political punishment for getting involved in the AG race - and Kate loses my vote for that. It isn't the Big Bad Wolfe that the Dems are afraid of, it's the fact that losing the vote of the cannabis block could actually matter in this race. It could actually matter in a lot of races, especially with M80 on the ballot.

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        Then, extending your logic, if Brown was intent on manipulation and concerned about the "cannabis block," she would have been more inclined to ignore the transgressions of Wolfe's operation.

        But back to reality, how do you figure there would be an inclination for "punishment" in the AG race? You are shooting from the hip on this one, and there is just no basis for your supposition.

        I will agree that Democrats are concerned about this race, and if you are a progressive concerned about ballot access, vote suppression issues and campaign finance reform progress, you should be, too. Bob Wolfe, by his own admission, has no shot at success in this race. He is a spoiler on the left, and as such he aids the GOP candidate. In case you haven't noticed, the GOP is not particularly friendly about voting rights, and Knute has already stated he thinks voter ID is just swell.

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          I am sending a message to candidates who give political favors to Prohibitionists. The fines levied against I-24 were the highest in History and came down just as the group was spendin similar amounts of money on the AG race. Looked fishy to me. Clearly Kate was sucking up up the LEO lobby for their support in her race later, and punishing the I-24 group for getting involved in politics. For me, this race is about letting Kate - and all the other Prohibitionists - know that supporting LEO over OMMP participants is a losing battle. Kate kicked the wrong hornet's nest this time, and it may well cost her and the Dems this election.

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            Kate as a "prohibitionist" is the most laughable phraseology I have heard on this comment thread. If Kate were such a bad acting "prohibitionist," would she have not meted out equal obstacles to IP 80? Your logic is flawed; you are grasping at straws, and you are simply loathe to admit that there were significant problems with the signature gathering phase of the campaign.

            In fact, even Wolfe has stated (see post below) that he does not feel as if he has been targeted, but that his issues are with the process.

            Fair enough to have a process conversation - defending Kate against baseless accusations is ridiculous. I would suggest that if you are adamant about continuing with this specious rant, you acquire some real evidence to validate your point.

            Oh, but there is none...

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      Carla Hanson stated: "Tell me, how is it fair to Oregonians directly, or the good of democracy more broadly, when signing an initiative petition resembles casting votes for American idol contenders?"

      Certainly it is advantageous for getting citizens more involved into sign petitions, including doing so on-line or by texting to the S.O.S. office, rather than allowing petitions to go the highest bidder with the most cash. I believe Dan Meek brought that issue to Phil Keisling's attention when he was S.O.S.; Keisling, at that time, did not think the technology was quite there, well today it is, many people today can bank by phone, depositing checks and transferring balances, change DMV addresses, and the like.

      Why does it feel like your opposed to more citizen involvement in the initiative process. I see that sentiment is sure going around these days, especially laws restricting voters from voting, or having special ID's, or plain dropping them from the roles.

      You would think that with 21st century technology, there would be more access, not less.

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    Douglas, you missed my drift. My allusion to American Idol was direct reference to the Idol voting operation - one man, 10 votes... or as many as you can text in.

    I absolutely support CITIZEN involvement in the initiative process - as petitioners and as signers. Our initiative system, however, suffers mightily when big money (and its surrogates) pushes it's own agenda (can you say Sizemore and Clairvest?). These big players are exactly the reason rigorous petitioner guidelines and their strict enforcement is necessary.

    But simply because a citizen brings forth a petition which many of us in the progressive community support, it doesn't allow him a pass when his process is systemically flawed, and his operation significantly under-performs compared to other initiative efforts.

    Blaming the Wolfe petitions failure on the SOS is like blaming your car wreck on the fence that got flattened in the mishap. He should have faced up to his errors and moved on, but now we have a protracted whine as if he's been singled out and treated unfairly.

    We can still have the discussion about continuing to shore up our initiative process so it is more responsive to citizen effort than Daddy Dollar. But in the meantime, this assault on the SOS is unfounded vitriol.

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      Thank you for the clarification Carla, I do not watch American Idol. I thought people voted for contestants by calling or texting, but as you pointed out, a person can send multiple texts. I guess the phone company is the real winner there.

      I do have a problem with the way signatures are thrown out. I understand there were a few petitions that faced a dismal success rate. I have attended and spoke at hearings at the legislature, but the problems seem to be getting bigger instead of better. You say, or at least imply, that Kate Brown is not problem, but I do see the success rate is a big problem. Seems like only deep pockets can overcome that. Too bad the big moneyed folks got it changed from per signature to per hour. Seems like by paying per hour, paid signature gatherers have to meet a quota to stay employed.

      I would not put the onus on Wolfe's complaint as unfounded vitriol. If some of the facts of Wolfe's complaint are true, then Kate has to have her feet put to the fire, so to speak.

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        I'm by no means an Idol devotee... I've just passed thru the living room on inopportune occasions!

        Process discussions are important, and before I hit a few highlights, I want to re-emphasize that I not only support the initiative process and a magnified involvement of the citizenry, but specifically, I signed Wolfe's petition as well as the IP 80 petition.

        • No, I do not AT All consider Kate's administration, development of particular rules, nor their strict adherence to such, as problems. Initiative paperwork is very clear regarding the parameters by which petition signatures and pages can be invalidated. Further, the SOS is very thorough in offering trainings for petitioners and is extremely accessible as specific questions arise.

        • While Kate's office implemented petition specific rules, as the SOS is directed to do by ORS, some rules are not simply rules, but ORS or Constitutional mandates. For example, in 2002, Oregon voters themselves passed the Constitutional amendment prohibiting signature gatherers to be paid by signature.

        • In regards to Administrative Rules, some of the most logical and effective rules have been implemented by Kate AND lauded by progressives. For example, 2 of these are the requirements that the full ballot summary be printed on each petition page, and that paid petitioners use colored paper and volunteer petitioners use white petition pages. These are simple rules that better describe both petition and petitioner, and give the potential signer valuable information when s/he considers signing.

        Whether small rule changes or Constitutional mandates, both the SOS and the electorate have seen a need to make the initiative system more rigorous. These ideas have not been implemented to squelch the voice of the electorate, but hold to higher standards those who had learned to manipulate and abuse the system.

        It is exactly the deep pockets that have abused the system; it is the primary reason why the electorate outlawed pay-by-signature. Kate must enforce the rules and laws not only to be fair to petitioners, but to be fair to all Oregonians.

        Finally, campaign finance reform has been passed in Oregon statutorily but not constitutionally (2006), and some here have been extremely critical of SOS and AG executives since then because those executives have chosen to not implement the statutory version. The problem is that with the implementation will come the challenge, and from the challenge will come SCOTUS.

        We desperately need CFR at all levels, but in these times, our Executive leadership has played smart ball in not waking the tiger.

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          I'm not sure what you mean by manipulate and abuse. People sign a petition. If you don't like it you vote against it at the general election. I enjoy voting down conservative measures as much as I enjoy voting for progressive ones. Keeping them off the ballot by making it harder has only made progressive measures fewer. These points seem to be lost in the discussion of the details.

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            Even the minor adjustments such as I mentioned corrected significant manipulation - pages from one petition would often be used for another and falsely presented to citizens. The Ballot Summary appearing at the page top eliminates the bait and switch.

            Petitioners paid by the signature is a prime example of systemic abuse: before 2002, petitioners would pad their signature sheet with forgeries to pad their pay.

            Further, there are allegations stemming from the signature gathering for Wolfe's petition that the Wolfe operation was in violation of minimum wage law. If this allegation is found to be true, it's a significant... and abusive.

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          I don't really get your response.

          SCOTUS has not overturned campaign finance limits. They exist in 46 states. Oregon deciding to become state number 47 won't bring a challenge to SCOTUS. If anything there will be a challenge to SCOO since the questions seem to revolve around Art I. Sec 8. of our own constitution. Federally limits have been legal for a very long time and are not at threat.

          And SCOO is mainly a bunch of Democrats so fearing them is a very odd thing to FUD about.

          Really don't get your second to last sentence and following. There's no tiger that will be awakened.

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            Fearing SCOO? I didn't bring them up. And I disagree with your perspective, but you are entitled to it as I am to mine. Nothing is fact until its no longer the future.

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      Carla and all:

      Let me be clear that I do not think I-24 was targeted for signature invalidation. I think the policies that Kate Brown imposed, which I alledge in my lawsuit were imposed illegally, had a negative affect on all petitions this year. Four petitions suffered historical low validity, two more were on the cusp of historical low validity, and two others (convervative) got higher validity but only by spending huge sums of money that are far out reach of most initiative efforts.

      By her actions, Kate Brown has pushed all citizens -- but particularly not-rich progressive citizens -- further from the ballot, and has caused costs of petitioning to escalate, which means well-funded conservative mesures stand a better chance than anyone else.

      Robert Wolfe Secretary of State Candidate Oregon Progressive Party

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    By the way, Seth, what was the process by which you received the green Party Nomination for SOS?

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      The state refuses to send us the proportion of the primaries we should be paid since we pay taxes to pay for your mail nomination process, but we don't receive a dime from it. It costs a lot of money to do it. I've been trying to convince the party to raise money to do an entirely vote by mail nomination process and bill the state and sue for unfairness when it refuses to pay, which it will, illegally. Knute Buehler has said he wants the state to pay for minor party nomination processes. Kate has not. I suggested it as an alternative to the top two system, and he accepted it, but not Kate.

      Here's the current process:

      A state convention from the previous year sets a date for a nominating state convention open to all registered Pacific Greens. Notices are published in three newspapers of general circulation, which means we buy ads. Those cost a few hundred dollars.

      Nominees are sent to a nominating committee that vets candidate backgrounds and forwards information to the agenda committee who puts it in the agenda packet. We can also do nominations from the floor, but most are known well in advance.

      Then we do ballots. We use secret ballots except in the case of only one candidate, where there's usually a suggestion (we don't have motions) to suspend the secret ballot and go for consensus. If that passes, it will be approved by consensus and if there are any standasides it falls back to a secret ballot. The normal process is to use instant runoff voting with none of the above as an option. None of the above wins more often than you'd expect. There are some strange people who show up at the last minute.

      This last one was in Salem, and we are allowed by law only to file nominations after the major party government-funded nominations, so we often schedule it right at the first time we can file. Our bylaws only allow properly noticed and called state conventions (and absentee voters) to vote on nominations -- this power is reserved to plenary conventions.

      The process in my case was by consensus. The decision was by unanimous consensus with no standasides or blocks.

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        ... continued to avoid 3k char limit

        It was a pretty easy choice, I think. I was the only one running for the position and I paid for and filed the law suit against the state to save our ballot access and organized the ballot access registration drive which we expected we needed to do because we figured the state would stall as much as possible to avoid resolving the issue ahead of the nomination deadline. We were right. The state didn't even respond to our suit in the 30 days required. We could have filed a motion for summary judgement due to non-response, but we expected they would claim internal lack of resources led to the delay and their delay requests would be granted. As far as I know, we're still awaiting a response. We notified that even after we regained access, we are not withdrawing the suit because the issues still remain.

        As part of the nomination speech, I explained how I was going to get a few thousand more registered voters with an organized registration drive run out of Portland. I put together a few teams and we increased the size of the Multnomah County registered amount by 60% in less than 2 months. Mostly they were new, unregistered voters and under 35. Don't worry, your party still has its boomers. We didn't need your membership according to our post-drive statistical analysis. ;)

        So getting nominated was kind of the easy part. Actually getting on the ballot, the part Dan was complaining about, took initially a few tens of thousands of signatures at first, but due to shenanigans at the elections division we had to go out and increase our membership. It took convincing a few thousand people to actually register with the party in order for me to be on the ballot this time, even though I got 3% four years ago, which the law says should qualify me for access again.

        Brown just had to dial for dollars to avoid a strong primary challenger and by default her party was on the ballot already. I don't even know what it takes to enter a major party primary for sure, but I think it requires a few signatures or something like that, nowhere near what I had to do. Registration drives are about three times as costly as a signature drive on a per-unit basis. Then I had to collect 500 signatures to be in the voter guide. Brown and all the other candidates including Bob (throught he Progressive Party) just used their deep pockets to pay the fee. I went out and got signatures. I think I collected 750 but my validation rate was very high, much higher than any of the other petitions from what I can tell, so I only needed just over 600? No duplication, careful collection, and I manually checked every form for all of the crazy rules. I wasn't about to pay three grand or so for a voter guide statement.

        I hope that satisfies your question.

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    I should clarify - answer the question with real person numbers. How many people were at the nominating Convention? When was it held? Was it over a weekend, a day a 1/2 day?

    Ans please don't conflate the 21k # required to create a party with the #s required for nomination. Dan already tried to pull that.

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      How many people were at the Working Families Party convention? I am sure you love them, Carla. But I guess they must be illegitmate, right?

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        Nice try, Dan. It's legitimate question to ask about the nomination processes - funny you are so testy about it. Hmm.... and my question is still unanswered.

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