Oregon Secretary of State Richardson and #OregonDemocracyReform

Secretary of State Dennis Richardso

The office of Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson today released its proposed Oregon election manual updates. The proposed changes will raise the profile of minor parties and remove barriers that Democratic Secretaries of State had set up over the past several years that have made grass roots candidates and citizens petitions more difficult.

This is what #OregonDemocracyReform can look like with a less partisan leadership. One reform that is still missing is to allow all qualified candidates to be included in the online version of the voters pamphlet only without having to pay the large fee required to be included in the mailed voters pamphlet.

Here are highlights of the proposed changes.


  1. Allowing smaller parties without precinct committee persons to file party statements in the primary election voters’ pamphlet. This creates a more equal playing field for all parties and promotes diverse perspectives outside the two-party system.

  2. Removing arbitrary reasons for disqualifying valid voter signatures, such as the weight or size of petition paper.

  3. Eliminating existing language that inadvertently disadvantages (mostly younger) people who have a legal signature that is printed script instead of cursive. A person must sign with their legal signature, regardless of whether it is cursive or printed script.

  4. Increasing transparency for campaign spending on online and social media advertising.

  5. Ensuring that persons with disabilities have the right to sign petitions with assistance and without extra initialing.

  6. To equalize the playing field, giving volunteer petitions the same monthly turn-in options as petitions using paid circulators. Currently, all-volunteer petitions may not turn-in signatures until they have 100% of what is required.

  7. Permitting volunteers to distribute e-sheets, which only have one signature and do not require circulator certification. This empowers citizens to petition their government.

  8. Clarifying that a candidate without a high school degree is not required to highlight that fact in the voters’ pamphlet. This eliminates a source of potentially subtle discrimination against candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds.

  9. Assisting grassroots candidates by providing a safety net for those who want to file for office by submitting signatures instead of a filing fee. Candidates who choose to submit both a filing fee and signatures will have their filing fee refunded if they gather enough valid signatures by the deadline. If there are insufficient valid signatures, the filing fee will be retained and the candidate will not be disqualified for failure to satisfy the fee requirement.

  10. Protecting candidate privacy by allowing them to use any valid phone number where they can be reached during normal business days, instead of requiring them to disclose their home phone.


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