July 2, 2020
Norman Turrill, (503) 386-7996
People Not Politicians submit tens of thousands of petition signatures to end gerrymandering in Oregon
SALEM—Today, the People Not Politicians campaign, the broad and diverse coalition that has come together to end gerrymandering in Oregon, submitted tens of thousands of signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State for Initiative Petition 57 (“IP57”), just days after filing a lawsuit in Federal Court to ensure that all of the signatures gathered to qualify its redistricting reform initiative for the November 2020 ballot would count.
“People Not Politicians is committed to ensuring that redistricting reform happens before Oregon draws new maps in 2021. We forged ahead through unprecedented times with an unprecedented signature gathering program, bringing in tens of thousands of petitions from Oregonians in barely over one month,” said Norman Turrill, Chief Petitioner and Chair of the People Not Politicians campaign committee.
“We filed our lawsuit on Tuesday asking the Court to recognize the extreme and unprecedented circumstances of a global pandemic that impacted the signature gathering process in Oregon, and to protect our First Amendment rights by reducing the barriers to the ballot,” Turrill continued.
Initiative Petition 57, filed in November 2019, would create the Oregon Citizens Redistricting Commission and put redistricting in the hands of Oregonians, not our politicians. The commission would consist of 12 Oregonians who applied and were selected from qualified applicants – four from the first largest political party, four from the second largest political party, and four others who are third party members or non-affiliated. Major donors to political candidates or parties would not be eligible. Neither would elected-officials, political party officials or their family members. Commissioners would be selected to represent the broad diversity of Oregonians.
After succeeding through multiple politically-motivated legal challenges and delays, the campaign was approved to collect signatures in April, weeks after Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued several emergency orders and the Stay Home, Save Lives program, which, while necessary for public health, effectively ended all possibility of traditional in-person signature gathering efforts.
After weeks of brainstorming and preparation, at the end of May, the People Not Politicians campaign launched a novel, creative and aggressive no-contact signature gathering campaign to collect signatures through direct mail, e-petitions and virtual grassroots communications efforts to qualify for the November ballot.
“Our first priority, of course, has been to ensure the safety and health of all Oregonians during this time and we adhered to the social distancing measures under Governor Brown’s Executive Orders with an abundance of caution,” said Candalynn Johnson, Deputy Campaign Manager for People Not Politicians. “But—democracy doesn’t stop. Redistricting will happen in 2021, and Oregonians deserve a redistricting process that is about the people, not politicians. During this time of unrest, our need to protect and advance the democratic process and ensure all Oregonians are represented is more important than ever.”
The initiative campaign coalition came together in April of 2019 and has been led by the League of Women Voters of Oregon, Oregon Farm Bureau, Common Cause Oregon, the Independent Party of Oregon, NAACP Eugene/Springfield Branch, Taxpayer Association of Oregon, OSPIRG, Oregon’s Progressive Party, and tens of thousands of Oregonians who supported the effort to remove conflicts of interest from drawing of voter lines.