Contact: Lloyd Marbet, (503) 637-3549, firstname.lastname@example.org - Dan Meek, (503) 293-9021, email@example.com
SUPREME COURT DESTROYS RIGHT TO COLLECT SIGNATURES
AT SHOPPING CENTERS AND STORES
"This is a devastating blow to democracy in Oregon," said Lloyd Marbet, candidate for Secretary of State. "The shopping centers have replaced the streets and sidewalks as the places for people to gather, and now the Court says these places are off limits to democracy."
Marbet said this will add force to his Marbet Plan to enable petition sponsors to collect signatures by using the existing balloting process. Under that plan, a group of chief petitioners could place in a primary election Oregon Voters' Pamphlet the official ballot title for their measure, upon paying a fee that covers the cost. The vote-by-mail package sent to voters would the include a signature card listing these measures and allowing voters to check off the ones they wants to sign. The voter would then return this signature card in the same outer envelope with her ballot. These signature cards would then be tallied separate from the ballots, which would remain protected within the secrecy envelopes that prevent elections officials from knowing how anyone has voted.
"This would allow voters to become informed and add their signatures to petitions, now that petitioners are being removed from commercial areas," said attorney Dan Meek. "It would cost taxpayers nothing, because the chief petitioners would pay for the space in the Voters' Pamphlet and cover the incremental cost of tallying the signatures." Marbet added, "I expect the politicians to oppose the Marbet Plan, because it would make signing petitions too efficient. They want petitioners out in the streets, getting arrested."
The Court's decision is in Stranahan v. Fred Meyer, Inc. and is available at http://www.voters.net/cir/stran.htm. It expressly reversed the Court's decision in Lloyd Corporation v. Whiffen (1993) that petitioners have a right to collect signatures in the common areas of shopping centers, subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.