Published on:

Who can, or can’t, vote for Oregon Justices of the Peace?

By

Forest Grove News-Times ran an interesting story about the May 2010 election for the Washington County Justice of the Peace:

Not everyone votes in judge race: Low-key race doesn’t wind up on ballots in Hillsboro,” by Christian Gaston, The Forest Grove News-Times, May 6, 2010:

Excerpt: “…But if you live in downtown Hillsboro, chances are, you won’t see either of their names on your ballot.

That’s because of a provision in state law that says county seats like Hillsboro or Portland, can’t vote in elections to elect justices of the peace, since the circuit courts hold court in their cities….” (Link to full story, if it’s still online.)

They don’t tell you what the state law is, but we’re guessing it might be this one:

ORS 51.020 Justice of the peace districts; establishing and modifying boundaries; maximum number of districts.

(1) The county court or board of county commissioners of every county may set off and establish, or modify the boundaries of, justice of the peace districts within the county. No more than six justice of the peace districts shall be set off or established or permitted to remain in existence within any county. Except in the counties of Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Morrow, Sherman, Tillamook and Wheeler, a justice of the peace district may not include any portion of the city that is the county seat for the county or any portion of a city in which a circuit court regularly holds court. In the counties of Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Morrow, Sherman, Tillamook and Wheeler, a justice of the peace district in existence on January 15, 1998, may include any portion of the city that is the county seat for the county, or any portion of a city in which a circuit court regularly holds court, until such time as the justice court ceases to provide judicial services within the county seat or city. If the justice court ceases to provide judicial services within the county seat or city, the district that includes portions of the county seat or city shall cease to exist and may not thereafter be reestablished.

(2) At the time that the county court or board of county commissioners of a county sets off and establishes the boundaries of a justice of the peace district, the county court or board of county commissioners may require as a qualification for the office that a person serving as justice of the peace in the district be a member of the Oregon State Bar. [Amended by 1965 c.568 §5; 1995 c.658 §53; 1997 c.801 §105; 1999 c.449 §1]