Oregon Law Review : Vol. 87 No. 3, p. 1025-1060 : The Majority Will: A Case Study of Misinformation, Manipulation, and the Oregon Initiative Process
This Article presents a case study of the initiative process by examining the campaigns waged for and against the School Bill. It is not intended to provide a thorough study of deception and discrimination in the initiative process. Instead, this Article offers case-specific insight into how voters can be manipulated by misinformation and prejudice. Part I examines the tension between representative democracy and the initiative process, particularly how the initiative undermines the deliberative process. Part II explores the history of the Oregon initiative prior to the School Bill. Part III describes how the Oregon initiative campaign for compulsory public education used misinformation to confuse voters and encourage bigotry. Part IV analyzes how voter ignorance, fear, and prejudice toward minority groups may taint the initiative process. Part V explores legal solutions and recommends that the courts reject the presumption of constitutionality attached to facially neutral legislation or legislation targeting nonsuspect classes and closely scrutinize direct legislation that harms historically disadvantaged groups.