Victory in Oregon! Voter Initiative Defended by IRLI Proves Successful
On November 4, voters in Oregon overwhelmingly rejected a law passed in 2013 that would grant driver’s license cards to illegal aliens. (Oregon Live, Nov. 5, 2014). Ballot Measure 88, which put Senate Bill (“S.B.”) 833 up for voter approval, was defeated by a landslide of more than 66% of voters. IRLI’s client Oregonians for Immigration Reform (OFIR), a local group whose mission is to support enforcement of immigration law, initiated the referendum of the law by working tirelessly to gather over 71,000 signatures in just a few months to get Measure 88 on the ballot.
On behalf of OFIR, IRLI defended the ballot title, summary of law, and questions presented to voters for consideration as certified by the Secretary of State when several illegal alien advocacy groups challenged the language in the Oregon Supreme Court. The illegal alien advocates brought the court challenge to the original text of the ballot, hoping to remove critical language that indicated that S.B. 833 would allow illegal aliens to receive driver’s licenses. The Oregon Supreme Court ultimately ruled to uphold the ballot text as originally certified by the Oregon Secretary of State. The ballot title language is often the only description that many voters see and certainly influenced the outcome of the vote.
IRLI client Cynthia Kendoll, president of OFIR, commented, “We wanted to get it to the ballot, and we wanted to let Oregon voters decide this issue. I think they’ve spoken loud and clear.” (Statesman Journal, Nov. 4, 2014). Kendoll stated the outcome was a victory for those “sick and tired of big business, special interest groups and unions controlling our government.” (Oregon Live, Nov. 4, 2014). “The defeat of Measure 88 marks a huge victory for true immigration reformers in Oregon,” said IRLI Executive Director Dale L. Wilcox. “We are delighted to have played a part in this victory and stand ready to assist other true immigration reformers nationwide in efforts to advance fairness and uphold the rule of law,” added Wilcox.