Guidelines and Requirements for Petitions:
Initiative Petition Cover and Signature Sheet Requirements (Oregon Constitution, Article IV, §1, ORS 250.165)
All cover and signature sheets must be approved in writing by the county elections official before circulating any petition. Signatures collected on unapproved cover and signature sheets will be rejected.
The county elections official will not approve the cover and signature sheets for circulation until after the challenge period for the ballot title expires or, if the ballot title is challenged, after the Circuit Court order is received by the county elections official.
If at any time after approval to circulate the residence address of any chief petitioner changes or if the circulators pay status changes, new cover and signature sheets must be submitted for approval.
Logos, slogans, advertisements, party affiliation, etc. or any symbol or language which may be construed as advocacy is not permitted on any text, cover or signature sheet. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in rejection of those sheets and disqualification of those signatures.
Cover Sheet Requirements
Each cover sheet for a prospective initiative petition must include all of the following:
- the printed words County Initiative Petition across the top of the cover sheet
- the certified ballot title for the initiative
- names and residence addresses of all chief petitioners as designated on the Prospective Petition For Local Measure (SEL 370)
- the instructions to the petition circulators and signers
- The instructions must read exactly as they appear on the Prospective Petition For Local Measure (SEL 370).
The chief petitioners may also include the name and mailing address of the political committee sponsoring the prospective initiative petition.
Signature Sheet Requirements
Form SEL 371 or 373 may be recreated by the chief petitioners but must appear the same as the original form. Each signature sheet for an initiative petition must have a cover sheet copied on the back and include all of the following:
- a notice stating Some Circulators For This Petition Are Being Paid, if one or more persons will be paid for obtaining signatures of electors on the petition
- the sentence “It is unlawful to sign a petition more than one time.”
- the petition identification number
- statement that signers must initial any changes that the circulator makes to their printed name, residence address or date they signed the petition
- caption of the final ballot title
- a space for placing the signature sheet number
- petition circulator’s certification stating that the circulator witnessed the signing of the signature sheet by each individual whose signature appears on the signature sheet, that the circulator believes each signer
- is an elector, and that any compensation received was not based on the number of signatures obtained
- area for providing date when circulator signed certification
- area for placing county elections official’s certification
- ten signature lines unless a variation is approved by the county elections official
- Each signature line must include fields for:
date of signing petition
Signers are only required to provide a signature. An elector’s printed name, residence address and date they signed the petition are not mandatory under Oregon law. These information fields, while optional for the signer, provide valuable assistance to county elections officials who perform the signature verification. Failure to provide the optional information increases the possibility that the signature cannot be confirmed to be that of an active registered voter, and thus reduces the chances of the petition having adequate verifiable signatures to qualify for the ballot. If no date is provided by the elector, the signatures are considered valid only if the county elections official determines that the elector was an active registered voter during the period beginning the date the petition was approved for circulation through the date of filing the petition for signature verification.
Circulators are advised to encourage signers to complete the optional information whenever possible. Circulators are prohibited from completing the optional information for signers, unless the signer is disabled and requests assistance.