Bad news for Kevin Mannix, the former Republican candidate for Oregon attorney general and governor and prolific ballot-measure author.

Last week, elections officials notified Mannix that his group, Common Sense for Oregon, had been improperly gathering signatures for a proposed ballot measure for nearly a year.

Mannix hopes to gather nearly 118,000 signatures to amend the Oregon Constitution with a measure that would allow the tax-free transfer of assets between generations—abolishing what's sometimes called the "death tax."

But elections director Jim Williams told Mannix that Common Sense for Oregon had failed to get necessary approval for the signature sheets it was circulating.

That violation proved costly—Mannix says he'll lose "many hundreds" of signatures. He says the elections decision was fair but adds that legislators have written "ludicrous laws," making initiative work a minefield.