Ask 100 Oregonians how they’d reform the voting system and you’ll likely come away with 100 different answers. Besides the major party labels, voters can register as an independent or as a member of one of several minor parties. One relatively recent addition, the Working Families Party, has been trying to make fusion voting the law since its inception.
Fusion voting in Oregon allows candidates to list their endorsements of multiple parties on a ballot. This might seem like a small change, but opponents like the Democratic Party of Oregon say it could change elections: Causing confusion at best and misreprentation at worst. New Yorkers have been using fusion voting for more than a decade, and the Working Families Party there says it has strengthened the power and influence of their party.
A representative for Governor Ted Kulongoski says he is still considering whether to sign SB 326 into law. The same bill would make it easier for independent candidates to run for office in Oregon.
What impact would these changes have on voters in Oregon? Would they strengthen or weaken minor parties in the state? What’s the best role for minor parties to play in state politics? Would it be better to leave the current two party system unchanged?
- Barbara Dudley: Co-chair of the Oregon Working Families Party
- Ian McDonald: Political Scientist at Lewis & Clark College
- Dan Cantor: Chair of the New York Working Families Party