Critical information for chief petitioners: A circulator’s failure to comply with the Elections Division guidelines may result in rejection of petition signature sheets and a felony conviction for the circulator.
To ensure compliance with the circulating requirements, chief petitioners must educate circulators and monitor their activities.
Circulator Guidelines and Requirements
The following guidelines and requirements apply to all petitions. Petition-specific guidelines and requirements can be found in each manual.
Each petition circulator must:
- Personally witness all signatures collected, and should not collect additional signatures on the petition sheet once the circulator certification has been signed and dated.
- Complete the circulator certification by signing their legal signature, with a minimum of a first name initial and full last name.
- Provide the date when the certification was signed.
If additional signatures are gathered after the circulator certification has been signed and dated, the circulator must re-sign and re-date the certification.
It is against the law for circulators to:
- Circulate a petition containing a false signature.
- Make false statements to anyone who signs the petition or requests information about it.
- Attempt to obtain the signature of a person who is not qualified to sign the petition.
- Offer money or anything of value to another person to sign or not sign the petition.
- Sell or offer to sell signature sheets.
- Write, alter, correct, clarify or obscure any information about a signer unless the signer initials after the change is made.
- A circulator may assist a disabled signer who requests assistance in completing their printed name, address and date signed.
- For initiative, referendum and candidate nominating petitions, accept compensation to circulate a petition that is based on the number of signatures obtained.
Violations of the circulator requirements may result in conviction of a felony, with a fine of up to $125,000 and/or prison for up to five years, in accordance with ORS 260.715.
In addition to the requirements listed above, state law requires everyone being paid to collect signatures on a state initiative, referendum or recall petition to register as a paid circulator prior to gathering signatures.
If within the last five years the prospective paid circulator has:
a) Been convicted of a criminal offense in any state involving fraud, forgery or identification theft; or
b) Has had a civil penalty imposed for certain election law violations.
...they may not be paid for gathering signatures and are prohibited from registering.
Circulator Registration: Process
A paid circulator must coordinate with chief petitioners or their authorized agents to ensure a complete registration is submitted to the Elections Division. To begin the registration process, a paid circulator:
- Reviews the Circulator Training Manual (PDF)
- Completes the Circulator Training Certificate
- Provides the required information on the Circulator Registration form
To complete the registration process, chief petitioners or their authorized agents:
- Ensure a criminal records check has been conducted on the paid circulator.
- Provide the Criminal History Report from the Oregon State Police Open Records Section.
- Coordinate the production of a digital photograph of the paid circulator.
- Acknowledge their liability for violations of law or rule made by the paid circulator.
- Submit the paid circulator’s completed registration to the Elections Division.
Circulator Registration: Checklist
A complete registration includes the following.
An incomplete registration will be rejected and returned to the filer.
Within five business days of receiving a completed circulator registration, the Elections Division will issue a badge, which the paid circulator must carry as proof of registration when circulating.
Once registered, paid circulators are prohibited from gathering signatures as a volunteer during any time period for which the circulator is being paid to gather signatures.