Note: This is the German translation of an English case study written by Robert Richards on 06/06/2012.
Problem and purpose
The Oregon Citizens 'Initiative Review 2010 Mesaure 74 (Oregon CIR 2010 M74) is the evaluation of a citizens' initiative that took place in the state of Oregon in the United States. Its subject is the so-called measure 74, the draft of a statute that contains a regulated distribution system for the medical administration of marijuana. The evaluation of the citizens' initiative was carried out in a deliberative process by a jury of citizens. The so-called Oregon Citizens Initiative Review (Oregon CIR) was integrated into the nationwide election process.
Tyrone Reitman, Ned Crosby (founders of the Jefferson Center, which developed the Citizens Jury) and his wife Patricia Benn supported the use of the CIR in Oregon in 2003. In 2006, Tyrone Reitman and Elliot Shuford, colleagues at the University of Oregon, organized one Project to introduce the CIR in Oregon. Crosby and Benn agreed to fund the project. Early in 2007, Reitman and Shuford founded Healthy Democracy Oregon (HDO), an organization to run the project. This was later renamed the Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review (Oregon CIR). After a successful trial in 2008, Oregon's Legislature authorized Oregon CIR for the 2010 election. As a result, HDO organized two Oregon CIRs in 2010, one of which was the Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review 2010 Measure 74, which took place August 16-20 second was.
Origin and Financing
The Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review 2010 Measure 74 (Oregon CIR 2010 M74) was organized by the HDO. Funding came from grants from foundations, nonprofits, contributions from HDO board members, and private donations from Oregon citizens. Part of the funding came from Promoting Healthy Democracy , which is co-founded by Crosby. HDO did not receive any support from the state of Oregon.
Selection of participants
The Oregon CIR has four categories of participants: panelists, citizens deliberating on the voter initiative; Advocates, individuals who have knowledge of the voter initiative and who argue either for or against; Stakeholders, people who will be affected by the initiative and who also argue for or against; and witnesses in the background, people with a level of knowledge about topics related to the initiative and providing neutral information about it.
To select panelists for the Oregon CIR 2010 M74, HDO used a process developed in partnership with the Davis, Hibbitts, and Midghall Inc. Survey Research Institute. The League of Women and Voters of Oregon observed the selection process, which was as follows: HDO selected 10,000 Oregon voters. All voters in this selection were sent an invitation to participate in the 2010 Oregon CIR and a demographic survey. 350 participants answered (which corresponds to a response rate of 3.5%). Among those who responded, HDO anonymously chose (using survey demographics) 24 panelists and five alternate participants for each 2010 Oregon CIR. The participants were selected in such a way that their composition corresponded to the place of residence, political orientation, level of education, ethnicity, gender and age of the inhabitants of Oregon. However, since some selected participants were unable to attend, the composition differed slightly from the constituency of Oregon’s electorate in the sense that the panel included one more college-educated member and one less high-school (or lower-educated) member More member from Oregon's Second and Fifth Congresses, one less member from Oregon's First Congresses, one more member from the Republican Party, and one less member who is politically independent (compared to the selection schedule). HDO paid a grant of $ 150 per day for travel, accommodation and childcare for the panelists.
Oregon CIR 2010 M74 included voter proponents, as well as a police chief and a prosecutor who opposed it. Stakeholders were selected by the advocates and included, for the advocates, four medical marijuana activists, three medical marijuana patients and their representatives, a physicist doing research on the drug, and a committee spokesman for the Oregon Department of Human Services advises on the government's medical marijuana program. Measure 74 opponents did not elect stakeholders.
In order to select background witnesses, HDO identified individuals who are recognized as experts on the subject of Action 74 and were given names of additional potential witnesses from advocates. This resulted in a list of seventy potential background witnesses whom HDO interviewed to learn more about the individuals' knowledge, availability up to the discussion board, and support for the action. Then the final list was drawn up. The panel then selected seven witnesses from that selection, including a former federal drug investigator, two active police officers, a retired police officer, a medical marijuana patient, the officer who led the legislative process with the Oregon Department of Public Health has as well as a researcher in the field of health law.
Deliberation, Decision Making, and Public Interaction
On the first day of the Oregon CIR 2010 M74, the organizers explained the task to panelists. Your task was to prepare a statement that explained the most important facts about Measure 74 and that at least 14 out of 24 panelists could agree on. In addition, the statement should explain how many participants approve or reject the measure and the arguments for it. Each of the three parts of the opinion (main facts and arguments for and against the measure) could not contain more than 130 words. The CIR organizers and moderators then explained the CIR procedures and measure 74 to the panel. Much of the first day consisted of practical deliberation, during which the panelists gained experience in applying the CIR procedures to a hypothetical voter initiative.
The next three days consisted of hearings in which advocates, stakeholders and background witnesses presented arguments and information about the roundtable discussion. During the hearings, participants were given the opportunity to ask questions. One day after the hearings, the participants met in small groups and then discussed with all panelists to present the group results. Every day each participant was assigned to a different group and a different place during the full discussion round in order to expose him to the diversity of views and so that the closeness to certain participants does not influence decisions. (The daily seat assignments were determined manually). Trained moderators led the questionnaires in deliberations to ensure that all supporters, advocates and witnesses were treated fairly and that all participants had the chance to be heard.
At the end of each day, the participants filled out questionnaires on the substance and quality of the deliberations. The surveys were created and distributed by John Gastil and Katherine Knoblich, researchers who conducted a formal study of the Oregon 2010 CIRs.
The deliberations during days 2, 3, 4 and the morning of day 5, which were in public and recorded, focused on information gathering. During the deliberation on the afternoon of the fifth day, the participants made final decisions as to whether or not to support Measure 74 in order to justify them in non-public discussions.
On the morning of the second day, participants heard arguments from supporters and stakeholders who were for and against Measure 74. In the afternoon, as part of the full roundtable discussion, participants selected background witnesses, advocates and stakeholders whose arguments they wanted to hear (again) and whom they wanted to ask questions.
On the third day, the witnesses, advocates and advocates selected the day before made a presentation to the participants. Their deliberations dealt with the identification of the main findings on measure 74 and with the most convincing arguments for or against the measure.
On the fourth day, the advocates made their final point in the morning. In the afternoon of the fourth day and in the morning of the fifth day, the participants finalized the formulation of the main findings for measure 74 and selected the most important ones. Some participants also met in groups on the evening of the fourth day to fine-tune the formulation of the main arguments. 14 out of 24 votes were required to include a main finding in the statement. In addition, the participants discussed whether they were in favor of Measure 74 or opposed it in the light of the main findings and all the arguments they had heard.
On the afternoon of day five, the participants split into two groups: supporters and opponents of the measure. During these group discussions, which were non-public and unrecorded, the participants selected the strongest arguments for their position and finalized the formulation of those arguments. The participants and the HDO staff then read, checked and commented on the arguments in the discussion, which led to a revision of the arguments of both sides. These arguments were then included in the opinion. 13 participants supported the measure in their final statement, while 11 were against it.
After the deliberations ended on the fifth day, the participants made an evaluation of the Oregon CIR process and the organizers and moderators. This required them to apply various criteria, such as the quality of the deliberation and any influence from the staff. In addition, each participant had the opportunity to submit a personal statement. In addition, the participants in the evaluation were given the opportunity to submit a personal statement that contained views that had not been included in the citizens' statement.
At 4 p.m. on the fifth day, HDO held a press conference where participants in the Oregon CIR 2010 M74 presented their comments to the media and the public.
The opinion was included in the official 2010 Oregon voters' pamphlet .
Some time after the Oregon CIR 2010 M74 was completed, HDO published a final report that included the Measure 74 Citizens' Statement as well as the evaluation of the Oregon CIR 2010 M74 participants and the description of the Oregon CIR process.
Effect, result, and effects
John Gastil, Katherine Knobloch, and their colleagues are doing a 2010 Oregon CIR study. Data for the study was obtained from the researcher's survey, which was completed by participants, the participant's final evaluations, and telephone and online surveys of Oregon citizens to test their attitudes and knowledge about Action 74. The official 2010 Oregon voters' guide and citizen statements were also considered. The online study of Oregon voters, interviewed first in August and then again two weeks before the November 2010 election, included an experiment to test the influence of citizen opinions on citizens' knowledge and perception of Measure 74.
The main results of Gastil's and Knobloch's study were as follows:
• The deliberations provided sufficient information and a sufficiently detailed analysis of measure 74 for the discussion participants to be able to make an informed decision about the measure.
• The CIR process was fair. Twenty out of 24 test persons were "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with the neutrality of the CIR organizers and moderators.
• The democratic quality of the deliberations was high. Panelists had equal opportunities to participate, treated each other with respect, and were open to other views.
• There was a major change in attitudes towards Measure 74 among panelists during the deliberations. At the beginning of the CIR, 15 panelists (63%) were undecided, 3 supported Measure 74 (13%) and 5 were against (21%) (one panelist did not answer in the first survey). At the end of the CIR, no participant was undecided, 13 (54%) supported the measure, and 11 test subjects (46%) were against.
• The quality of the citizens' explanation of Measure 74 was high. The statement contained no significant factual or logical errors, reflected the deliberations of the participants and provided new and useful information for voters.
With regard to the influence of the public opinion on measure 74, the main results of the study were as follows:
• Most Oregon voters (58%) were unaware of the 2010 Oregon CIR, and most (65%) had not read the Citizen's Statement on Measure 74.
• 31% of Oregon voters learned a new argument or information about Measure 74 through the Citizen Commentary
• Citizens who read the Citizens' Opinion spent more time reading it (eleven minutes on average) than they needed for other parts of the official voter guide (an average of 3 to 6 minutes per section)
• Reading the Citizens 'Opinion significantly increased voter knowledge and decreased voter support for Measure 74. Only 39% of those who read the Citizens' Opinion support Measure 74, compared with 47% of those who did not read it to have.
• The effect of reading the citizen's opinion was too small to affect the outcome of the 2010 Oregon statewide election, but large enough to indicate that in a future tight ballot vote, a citizen's opinion could affect the outcome. On November 2, 2010, in Oregon, 56% of voters voted against measure 74.
In 2010, Gastil and Knobloch submitted the results of their study to the Oregon legislature. In 2011, the Oregon Legislature passed a law that makes the Oregon CIR an integral part of the state-wide initiative Oregon process. The preamble to the articles of association refers to the results of the Gastil and Knobloch study.
Analysis and criticism
Gastil and Knobloch summarize in their 2010 report that the CIR design used during the 2010 Oregon CIRs was generally "appropriate and effective". In their 2010 report and several subsequent publications, they nevertheless recommend some modifications to the CIR process that include the following points.
The researchers found that the citizen's opinion failed to identify the policy issue that the measure was intended to correct. The researchers suspected that this could have led to the surprising decline in approval among citizens, even though the majority of participants voted for the measure.
The researchers also found that the participants left out important details in their comments. This included complex substantive findings, such as evidence that only certain groups of patients had problems obtaining medical marijuana, as well as comments on the tradeoffs that play a role in being for or against the measure, such as, for example, that measure 74 could well increase the possibilities of patients to obtain medical marijuana, but could outweigh the increased drug crime. The researchers also observed a refusal by participants to take in information that could be difficult to formulate for citizens to understand.
The researchers also observed that the deliberation on day five, with participants commenting on arguments against their own, led to a revision that generally cemented the arguments of both sides. From this, the researchers concluded that the CIR organizers should give participants enough time to deliberate on the reasons for their arguments, especially if one side has less support than the other, as such deliberation increases the quality of the reasoning.
Binder, M., Boudreau, C., & Kousser, T. (2011). Shortcuts to deliberation? How cues reshape the role of information in direct democracy voting. California Western Law Review , 48, 97-128.
John Gastil and Katherine Knobloch. (2010). Evaluation Report to the Oregon State Legislature on the 2010 Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review . http://www.la1.psu.edu/cas/jgastil/CIR/OregonLegislativeReportCIR.pdf
John Gastil, Katherine Knobloch, Justin Reedy, Mark Henkels, and Katherine Cramer Walsh. (2011). Hearing a Public Voice in Micro-Level Deliberation and Macro-Level Politics: Assessing the Impact of the Citizens' Initiative Review on the Oregon Electorate. Paper Presented at NCA 2011: Annual Conference of the National Communication Association, held November 17-20, 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana.
John Gastil, Katherine Knobloch, and Robert Richards. (2012). Vicarious Deliberation: How the Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review Influences Deliberation in Mass Elections. Paper Presented at RSA 2012: The 15th Biennial Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America, May 23-28, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
John Gastil and Robert Richards. (2012). Making Direct Democracy Deliberative through Random Assemblies, Paper to Be Presented at ASA 2012: The Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, August 17-20, 2012, Denver, Colorado.
Katherine Knobloch, John Gastil, Justin Reedy, and Katherine Cramer Walsh. (2011). Did They Deliberate? Applying a Theoretical Model of Democratic Deliberation to the Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review. Paper Presented at NCA 2011: Annual Conference of the National Communication Association, held November 17-20, 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Katherine Knobloch and Rory Raabe. (2011). Exploring the Effects of Deliberative Participation through Panelist Self-Reports. Paper Presented at NCA 2011: Annual Conference of the National Communication Association, held November 17-20, 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana.
Healthy Democracy Oregon. (2010). Citizens' Initiative Review 2010, Measure 74, Interim Final Report . Portland, OR: Healthy Democracy Oregon. http://cirarchive.org/media/attachments/documents/M74_Final_Report.pdf
Healthy Democracy Oregon, Citizens' Initiative Review, http://healthydemocracyoregon.org/citizens-initiative-review
Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review, 2010, Archive Website, http://cirarchive.org/
Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review, 2010, Measure 74. (2010). Citizens' Initiative Review of Measure 74 . Salem, OR: Oregon Secretary of State. http: //cirarchive.org/media/attachments/documents/statements/M74_Citizen ...
Oregon Laws, 2011, Chapter 365, http://www.leg.state.or.us/11orlaws/sess0300.dir/0365.html
Oregon Secretary of State. (2010). Voters' Pamphlet, Oregon General Election, November, 2, 2010 . Salem, OR: Oregon Secretary of State. http://oregonvotes.org/doc/history/nov22010/guide/book13.pdf