REVIEWING BALLOT MEASURES: DEMOCRACY IN ACTION

From The Oregonian:

I recently got together with a diesel mechanic from Klamath Falls, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Bonanza, a former United Farm Workers activist from Salem, and 20 other Oregonians from around the state. The youngest in our gathering was a 19-year-old seasonal worker from Hermiston, the oldest (that anyone would admit to) was a retired 85-year-old attorney from Portland. Our group was balanced by gender, age, voting history, and other categories to reflect the demographics of our state.

Our reason for getting together?

To conduct the first-ever Citizens’ Initiative Review in Oregon. Our task was to study one of the measures set to appear on Oregon’s November ballot. For one week we heard testimony both for and against an issue, called upon background witnesses to provide additional information, and went through a process of group discussion and deliberation. Then we crafted a summary statement of our findings about the measure; our finished product will be printed in the statewide Voters’ Pamphlet this fall.

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