The legal wrangling that has held up the proposed ballot measure to make Jackson County GMO-free (Genetically Modified Organism) has now cleared one legal hurdle and petitioners need only wait for county attorneys to clear the language to begin working in earnest.
According to the county elections office, a total of 4662 valid signatures are needed to place the issue on the ballot. Petitioners are optimistic they can get the work done, however, the deadline for the November 6, 2012 ballot was August 8, and is no longer an option.
Now the soonest this issue can be on the ballot will either be during the primary election in 2014 or on the general election of that same year.
Currently, the issue is with county elections attorneys, and will be returned to the elections department as soon as it is thoroughly checked for accuracy. At that time the GMO-free group can begin collecting signatures for the next election cycle.
The group needs to gather 6 percent of the total number of Jackson County voters who voted during the last governor’s election which was two years ago. There is another manner in which the issue could be on the ballot. If the county commissioners should choose to place the issue there, the election could appear sooner.
Ron Bjork of the Oregon Farm Bureau, responded with the following statement: “Farmers rely on good science to help guide farming best practices. Genetically engineered crops have been determined by years of scientific evaluation and regulation to be safe. Regulation of crops costs federal agencies many millions of dollars a year. There is no way Jackson County or local taxpayers in any community can fund a program to regulate crops already federally approved as safe.”