Oregon Senate votes to toughen rules for canvassing firms; critics charge it criminalizes minor errors

Wed, May 29 2013 — Source: The Oregonian

The Oregon Senate on Tuesday voted to toughen the regulation of signature gathering firms, despite the objections of Republicans and other critics who charged that it could have a chilling effect on ballot measure campaigns.

Critics said that Senate Bill 154, which passed on a party-line vote of 16 to 14, could subject canvassing firms to potential criminal penalties for inadvertent errors involving election laws.

Supporters, including a spokesman for Secretary of State Kate Brown, said that the measure only subjected firms that gather voter signatures to the same regulations that individual canvassers and the chief petitioners of ballot measures already must meet.