For Immediate Release
May 13, 2020
Norman Turrill, (503) 386-7996
SALEM—People Not Politicians, a broad and diverse coalition of Oregon voters and organizations is moving forward with their statewide initiative to reform Oregon’s redistricting process and has started collecting signatures to qualify for the ballot in November.
The initiative would amend Oregon’s constitution to change how legislative and congressional district boundaries are drawn, creating an independent citizen redistricting commission to draw voting districts.
“These are uncertain times, but democracy doesn’t stop. We believe, and a large majority of Oregonians agree, that every Oregonian deserves to be represented and every eligible voter’s vote should count,” said Norman Turrill, Chair of People Not Politicians and President of the League of Women Voters of Oregon Advocacy Fund.
The campaign will pursue a robust statewide signature gathering effort through direct mail, e-petitions and virtual grassroots communications efforts in order to collect the signatures required to qualify for the November ballot.
“Our first priority is to ensure the safety and health of all Oregonians during this time and we will adhere to the social distancing measures under Governor Brown’s Executive Orders,” Turrill added.
“This reform is absolutely necessary to the future of our state. When politicians engineer voting maps, they’re effectively fixing elections,” said Sharon Waterman, Past President of Oregon Farm Bureau and Chief Petitioner on the initiative. “Turning the redistricting process over to impartial citizens will take partisan politics out of the equation.”
The initiative coalition is led by the League of Women Voters of Oregon, Oregon Farm Bureau, Common Cause Oregon, the Independent Party of Oregon, NAACP branches of Oregon, Taxpayer Association of Oregon, OSPIRG, American Association of University Women of OR, Oregon’s Progressive Party, over 20 other organizations, as well as nearly a 1,000 individual Oregonians.
“Letting politicians manipulate voting maps is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. Politicians in power shouldn’t be allowed to draw voting maps which benefit themselves, but that’s exactly what they do now. It’s a conflict of interest.” said Kate Titus, Executive Director of Common Cause Oregon.
The initiative would create the Oregon Citizens Redistricting Commission consisting of 12 Oregonians selected from qualified applicants – four from the largest party, four from the second largest 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 and would be required to follow strict, fair criteria in drawing the maps.
“This reform is about more than fixing strangely shaped districts,” said Eugene/Springfield NAACP Executive Director Eric Richardson. “It’s about ensuring that communities are protected so all voters have an equal opportunity to elect someone who shares their lived experiences.”
To ensure Oregonians can vote for a fair and transparent independent redistricting citizen’s commission, the campaign needs 149,360 valid signatures by July 2 to qualify for the ballot in November. Due to the public health crisis the best way to sign a petition will be to download, print, and then mail your signed petition to People Not Politicians. Read Initiative Petition 57 and sign the petition at www.PeopleNotPoliticiansOregon.com.