Citizensí Initiative Review will look at ballot measures

Written by Observer editorial reports July 08, 2010 02:06 pm
Ever been confused by some of the ballot measures that have been presented to voters over the years? Not sure which side is telling the truth in their advertising? Voted “no’’ on a measure because it’s the safer bet?

The Citizens’ Initiative Review process, which did a test run in 2008 and will put the full process to work on two measures that will appear on the November 2010 ballot, hopes to lessen voters’ confusion over controversial initiatives.
The goal of CIR is “to provide voters with clear, useful and trustworthy information on ballot measures.’’ The process will use a panel of 24 registered Oregon voters — selected at random from around the state — to review each measure, hear pro and con advocates present their cases, deliberate and then prepare a “Citizens’ Statement’’ for inclusion in the Oregon Voters Pamphlet.

Perhaps some people from our area recently received invitations to apply for the citizen review panel. We hope some locals will apply. The panels for each measure, which will be limited to two this year, will be balanced from the five congressional districts, said Elliot Shuford, executive director for Healthy Democracy Oregon, the organization responsible for organizing and carrying out the citizens’ review process. The hearings, too, are promised to be balanced.

The process makes sense. Many of the campaigns for the various measures that make the ballot in Oregon routinely buy a lot of advertising and place numerous statements in the Voters Pamphlet. The proponents and opponents’ goal, as CIR notes, is to influence voters, not necessarily inform. CIR hopes to change that with reliable and clear information.

Watch for the Citizen Statements in the Voters Pamphlet this fall. They’ll be the most objective analyses of the issues we’ll be voting on.