Monday, April 27, 2020
Contact: Devon Downeysmith
To get the signatures needed to qualify for the ballot, the More Treatment campaign is now directly mailing likely supporters, asking them to sign the petition and mail it back.
The campaign has received legal clearance from the Oregon Secretary of State to try this direct mail approach to signature gathering.
“In times like these, it’s even more important to give people a chance to weigh in on something so critical to the needs of people and our democracy,” said chief petitioner Janie Gullickson, executive director of the Mental Health and Addiction Association of Oregon. “The pandemic has exacerbated Oregon’s drug addiction crisis, and we urgently need this initiative to pass.”
In addition to the current direct mail experiment, the campaign has:
- Transformed its website to focus on signature gathering
- Texted, called and emailed supporters, asking them to print out the petition and mail it in.
- Collaborated with volunteers to collect signatures from people at their household.
- Teamed up with endorsing organizations to have them reach out to their supporters and ask them to sign.
The campaign has already collected more than the 112,020 signatures to qualify the Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act for the ballot.
However, it’s likely the Secretary of State will find that some of the signatures already collected are invalid because, for example, the signer had illegible handwriting or gave an address that differs from the one where they are registered to vote. The campaign has said it needs about 7,500 more signatures.
“We believe we are very close to the line to qualifying, so every signature we get right now absolutely makes a difference,” said Peter Zuckerman, Campaign Manager. “This could come down to just a handful of signatures. If you’re a registered Oregon voter or know anyone who is, please sign up to get a petition. If you’ve already signed, you can share the petition with others.”
Registered Oregon voters who want to get a petition mailed to them can send their mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Act would change Oregon’s approach to drugs and addiction. Instead of Oregonians getting criminally punished and arrested for drug addiction, they would get access to treatment and recovery services, paid for with marijuana tax revenue. The campaign has received many high-profile endorsements, including the state’s oldest and largest recovery organization.
Oregon ranks at the top for drug use and abuse. Many frontline workers and experts say the pandemic has made drug addiction much worse, in part because people are stressed and isolated. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people with Substance Use Disorder are especially vulnerable if they get COVID-19, and some states and counties are letting non-violent offenders out of prisons and jails to help stop COVID-19’s spread.