A judge in Marion County Court today ruled against State Sen. Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro). Starr sued to block Secretary of State Kate Brown from placing the election for labor commissioner on the November general election ballot rather than on the May primary ballot. Until late last Friday Starr, who is challenging incumbent Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian thought the race was in May, as did Avakian.
Starr sought a temporary injunction which would have delayed the printing of May primary ballots. Oregon Department of Justice lawyers representing Brown argued such a delay would be expensive, as ballots are already being printed, and could violate federal requirements for when ballot must be mailed to overseas voters.
Greg Chaimov, a lawyer for Starr, says Starr needed to convince Judge Steven Price that Starr was likely to prevail and that moving the election to November would cause "irrepeparable harm."
Judge Price did not issue a written ruling, Chaimov says, nor did he provide an interpretation of the 2009 statute that the parties disagreed on.But the ruling is the last word on the matter and the election will be in November. "You can appeal a final decision to the Court of Appeals but not a preliminary injunction," Chaimov says.
"In his ruling this afternoon, Marion County Circuit Court Judge Steven Price agreed with the Election Division’s implementation of the statutes governing the BOLI commissioner election in 2012. The law is clear, and was voted on by the legislature in 2009. The election will occur in November for a two-year term. Judge Price ruled that absent an election in November the statute enacted by the legislature would be meaningless. For the Secretary of State’s office, this was an issue of election law, not politics. I appreciate the timely judicial review and am pleased that it ultimately showed that our Election’s Division acted in accordance with the law and in the best interest of Oregon’s voters."