Oregon Secretary of State Rejects Petition Aiming to Overturn Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

First attempt to repeal the drivers' license bill has apparently failed.

Driving in the Cascade Range foothills. (5506523 / Pixabay)

Oregon Secretary of State Bev Claro, a Republican, today rejected Initiative Petition 43—a potential ballot measure aimed at overturning legislation to provide driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants.

Citing the failure to adhere to the constitutional requirements for an initiative petitions, specifically that they "include the full text of the proposed law," she rejected the petition.

Her decision comes a month after the petition's backers, Mark Callahan and Angela Roman, turned in enough signatures to create a ballot title for the repeal of House Bill 2015. Clarno's decision means supporters now may need to start over from the top.

House Bill 2015 was passed this this year's legislative session on an emergency basis, which means an effort to repeal it must follow different technical requirements than a referendum on the bill.

HB 2015 was notable in part because it reversed a decision made by voters in 2014 to forbid issuing driver cards to undocumented immigrants.

But since President Donald Trump's election, public opinion has moved dramatically, in favor of rights for immigrants. And voters last year re-affirmed Oregon's principle of not using state resources on immigration enforcement, soundly rejecting Measure 105 that aimed to overturn that.

Clarno professed her commitment to a fair adjudication of election law. "It is my sincere hope that the proponents of this ballot measure will take my ruling as an opportunity to improve their proposal," she said in a statement. "I will always support the presentation of ballot measures that meet constitutional requirements."

Correction: This post initially misstated how many signatures the petitioners had collected.

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