I?m an independent (position, not Oregon?s poorly named party), so I don?t get to vote for any partisan candidate in the primaries. I?m not even sure I would fight inertia to participate and vote the other issues that are squeezed in on those ballots if I weren?t a mail-in voter. Guess that makes me disenfranchised, doesn?t it?
Problem is, I?m not sure I think it?s fair to any party to have just any folks able to vote on who they should put up for election. That and it would virtually eliminate the chance the rare exceptional individual would have running on his/her own or with a minor party. Please don?t get me wrong, I generally think most of the third party also-ran folks are there solely as protest because they couldn?t win in the mainstream parties, but that is just opinion.
The persons I consider most able to govern have long ago given up on the media circus that make only the most polished (read: most able to cover up their skeletons) into candidates. I would rather have someone who has not only made mistakes but who can both admit to them and explain what they have learned BEFORE running for office; instead, we get the groomed billboards who need on the job training. You know the folks I want to consider: the experienced person that every news person from CNN to the local rag dreams about being able to publicly fry (oops, being cynical again).
Back to the topic at hand, I?m still up in the air about it, but leaning against.
Rebuttal to a few of tpohara points: 1/ Fairness to parties is interesting considering that primaries are run under rules dictated by the parties and yet funded by public tax money. The parties could choose to allow independents to participate but they don't. Unless and until the political parties want to pay the bill for the primary election, why should they get to dictate the rules? While elections should never be "pay to play", logically those who pay for them should set the rules. And as long as the public is paying for the primaries, the public should set the rules - not the parties. 2/ Depending on how you count, somewhere between 20-30% of Oregon's legislative districts are so gerrymandered that the winning candidate is selected in the primary. Several districts in Multnomah County are heavily D, and several in Eastern Oregon are heavily R. For those districts, it means that about 1/3 of the registered voters have effectively selected the winner. Wouldn't it be better to have 2 Ds on the ballot in the general in a heavily D district than just one D and - no one else? Look at what we have for 2008 in 76 legislative races statewide (16 Senate and 60 House) - 27 of those will have only ONE candidate on the ballot! These are publicly funded political coronations rather than elections. And in at least 30, if not more, of the remaining 49 elections there is only a token D or token R opposition. Compare that with the recent Washington open primary where out of 124 legislative races there will be 5 DvD and 3 RvR in November. All of the DvD races are in districts in heavily D leaning King County, so this way the minority of R and independent voters in those districts will still get a vote. 3/ One improvement of Oregon's M65 over the Washington system is that parties CAN show which candidate they are endorsing. For many voters, this is valuable information. So the parties do still have influence and a chance to educate voters - just not the keys to the kingdom. 4/ As far as minor parties and their chance of winning under M65, it would actually be much higher. First, look at history. No minor party or independent candidate has won statewide office in more than 70 years. Now look at Washington's recent primary - out of 124 legislative races, 5 of those races are where one of the finalists is NOT a D or an R. Not a huge number, but 5 MORE situations (vs. Oregon) where a minor party or independent candidate actually has a meaningful chance to WIN an election, not just have a megaphone on a soapbox.
Hi Jim. You may not know it, but minor party primaries and conventions are not funded by tax dollars. I think it would be fair if all parties had their primaries funded in equal proportion to their registration numbers. Then by virtue of registering non-affiliated, funding would open up for independent candidates to seek nomination as well -- a "non-affiliated" ballot for them to nominate people -- none of the above being an option on it.
The public already does set all the primary rules, however parties may make rules differently if they choose to. But since it would be funded in proportion, it would be fair.
Under top two, democrats will run two candidates knowing that at least one goes ahead and most likely both in districts where there's no republican presence. The Green Party would be excluded. Currently minor parties are not excluded from the general election.
You're also ignoring the fact that "5 of those races are where one of the finalists is not a D or an R" doesn't imply that there's 5 more opportunities. In fact, the Republicans ran in only 37 seats out of 60 seats. That's 23 opportunities for the Green Party, in the Oregon House, to be in the top two without this proposal. If this proposal happens, those 23 opportunities may fall to 4 or 5 as most of them will have two democrats win. Only if two democrats don't run in those 23 seats do I expect to get to the top two. Mark my words that once the parties learn the system, it will be just as bad as the 1 in 1400 races that have happened historically where there was somebody outside the major parties.
We're running candidates in some of those races. Note that the 4th Congressional District has no Republican opponent. The Greens are on the general election ballot (a current city councilor of Corvallis) in that seat. If top two took effect, there would be no "green-dem" race in the 4th district.
The minor parties are against this proposal for a reason. We actually know how the election law works. Do you think we're just against it out of spite or that we're in favor of parties? Yes, we're a party, but we're also a bunch of people who have built an organization up from nothing to get some chance to participate in a debate that has been ignoring our values. With top two, the government will be forever able to ignore our values and listen only to an unprincipled "center".
Just follow the money -- all 20 statements are funded by big business and centrist politicians who agree on everything the Dems and Repubs agree on -- notably corporate influence.
Phil is just using this measure to plant the seeds for a run against Bradbury. Everybody with some awareness can see that he wouldn't get selected by the Democratic Party primary, so he has to try to appeal to right-wingers.
Give me a break -- bipartisanism is just a cover word for "give me enough money and I'll agree with anybody". They should create their own "centrist" party with their own "principles" and become a major party and displace the other two -- can't be that hard, now can it? As Phil said, if a party's not big enough it should question its reason for existence.
Well, Phil won't be able to get away with harming parties just because he wants to sell out both parties and reduce democracy with Louisiana-style Elections.
He lied about its being an open primary, he lied about it helping third parties, he lied about all the effects. Phil's most likely just lying to manipulate the system to seed his run against Bradbury, where he thinks he can win by playing to the center.
If he wanted real reform -- Phil would be championing campaign finance reform and public financing and Ranked Choice Voting (IRV) to truly eliminate the spoiler effect.
(P.S. Vote for me for Secretary of State... seth4sos.org)
Measure 65, Oregon's so-called "open primary" initiative, is not a carbon copy of Washington State's new law. In fact it includes some significant improvements.
As with the Washington law, everyone ? Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens, Libertarians, Working Families Party voters, nonaffiliated voters ? would be able to vote for any candidate in all primary and general elections. As with Washington's law, the top two candidates in the Primary advance to the General.
But the Oregon Initiative is better than Washington's law because it provides a way for parties to endorse candidates. Thus, "minor" parties will have an equal role with "major" parties in both primary and general elections. In order to endorse candidates on the ballot, any Party will need about 10,000 registrants. That's that?s not a bad thing. Requiring some number of supporters is a fair way to prevent ballot clutter.
Even more importantly, Oregon's Measure 65 will allow cross-endorsement of candidates. That's a good thing. The Oregon Independent and Working Families parties recently brought a lawsuit seeking the right to cross-endorse, meaning a candidate could run as Democrat-Working Families or Republican-Independent. This provides valuable information to voters about who stands for what. Measure 65 would establish cross-endorsement as the law in Oregon.
Will cross-endorsement confuse voters? No. It actually provides more information to voters by telling them which parties support which candidates. Oregon voters will appreciate having more information about where the candidates stand on issues.
There are downsides to Measure 65 which is why the Working Families Party took a neutral stance on the Measure. On the positive side, it allows all voters to participate in primary elections, provides more information to voters, and allows minor parties to play a more constructive role. It does not allow a voter to register a Party preference, however, which would be possible if each Party had its own ballot line.
Another danger is that the Open Primary can give an advantage to the richest candidate, because the candidate will have to reach out to the entire electorate in both the primary and the general election. We also need solid campaign finance reform that limits the power of big money in politics.
I support non-partisan primaries. The political parties are private clubs, they are not part of the government, so they should not be able to control state election facilities for their private purposes, such as choosing a club president (candidate). This measure, however, is seriously flawed. It makes no sense mathematically.
Say, for example, there are two republicans running and ten democrats. 40% of voters vote for a republican (20% each for the two); 60% vote for a democrat (6% each for the ten). That is a situation where 60% of the people voted for a democrat in the primary but there will only be republicans on the ballot in the general election (the republicans where the top two with 20% each, the democrats all got only 6% each). This is fundamentally unfair.
The proper way to do this, as is done in many other areas, is with ranked choice voting. Voters rank the candidates according to preference, indicating who is their first choice, second choice and so forth (sometimes called "instant runoff" voting). The candidates are ranked by how many first choice votes they got; the candidate at the bottom is dropped off and his/her votes go to the people who were the second choices of those voters. This counting process is repeated until only two candidates remain. Those two go on to the general election.
I'm not explaining it fully here so see these sites for a fuller description if you need one:
Often ranked choice is used to pick a single winner but to adapt it to the Oregon proposal we can use it in a primary to pick the top two and then have a general election with just those two.
This would be vastly more fair than either the current system of the current proposal. Under the current proposal, whichever party ends up with more candidates is disadvantaged by splitting that party's voters among more candidates, so each will receive fewer votes. This can be gamed by parties arranging to have fewer candidates or only a single candidate, thereby virtually ensuring a spot in the general election. This can lead to limited choice for voters. I'm a bit surprised to see a proposal that potentially can be so unfair and that can be easily gamed.
When I hear discussions of this proposal, I find myself saying, "But, primaries are PARTY functions!" And, indeed they are: They're to determine the candidate a particular party wishes to have stand for election. So, if that's the case, why is the public paying for those elections?
It seems to me that if the parties wish to have an election to name their candidates, they should do so under their own steam (and financing). Then, their candidate may be put forth along with others in a "pre-election" that narrows down the final election to the top two or three vote getters.
Measure 65 will destroy Oregon minor political parties, reduce voter choices, confuse the ballots, reward dirty politicking, and not elect moderate candidates anyway.
Today, Oregon's six minor parties can provide good alternatives to Democratic and Republican candidates in the November general election. But Measure 65 (the "top two primary") abolishes the Pacific Green, Constitution, Working Families, and Peace parties by removing their legal basis (getting 1% of the vote in the previous statewide general election).
Further, Measure 65 is intended by its sponsors to remove all minor party and all citizen-sponsored candidates from the general election ballot, including those supported by tens of thousands of voter signatures.
Under Measure 65, any resident can register as, say, a "Democrat" (up to the 70th day before the primary election) and immediately file as a candidate, with "Registered: Democratic" next to his name on the ballot. This person may be a Nazi, Communist, convicted child molester, etc. Any party can have its identity stolen this way by complete strangers who suddenly become "their" candidates on the primary ballot.
Each party will fight the resulting voter confusion by "endorsing" a candidate in each race, since Measure 65 allows party endorsements also to appear on the ballot. No party would want to endorse more than one candidate per race, as that would split the votes of the party faithful and harm their candidates' chances to finish in the "top two" and advance to the general election. If voters follow these "endorsements," this means Measure 65 will, in effect, replace the major party primaries with backroom endorsement deals.
Measure 65 will force minor parties to "endorse" candidates they do not agree with, just to oppose the strangers on the ballot who suddenly claim to be "their" candidates. Minor parties do not field candidates for every partisan office, rarely nominating more than a few candidates for the 75 races for the Oregon Legislature, for example. To avoid having their party labels hijacked by strangers, each minor party will be forced to endorse major party candidates in these races, even they differ with the minor party on the issues.
Under Measure 65, primary elections could become a game of "ringers," with political consultants recruiting candidates just to split the votes of the other parties. Republican consultants could recruit people to register and file as "Democratic" candidates, splitting the Democratic vote. Democrats could recruit phony "Republicans." Both of them could recruit phony "Independents" and phony "Libertarians," further increasing the party identity theft.
Expect a confusing ballot, with a dozen or more candidates for each major office who are "Registered" and/or "Endorsed" the surviving parties. In primary elections since 1979 in Louisiana, the only place where the Measure 65 system has operated for a full election cycle, there have been 9, 9, 8, 12, 16, 11, 17, and 12 candidates for Governor alone.
Measure 65 will not necessarily advance "moderate" candidates to the general election. In Louisiana, it has advanced extremists, as the moderate vote is split among several moderate candidates in the primary. Ku Klux Clan leader David Duke has twice advanced to the statewide Louisiana general election. Of the 16 candidates for Governor in 1995, the "top two" (with 26% and 19% of the vote) were the considered two most extreme. The organization FairVote states:
A Republican state legislator, Duke ran a strong second in the 1990 U.S. Senate election and gained a spot in the runoff election in the governor's race in 1991. In that 1991 runoff, he faced Edwin Edwards, a former governor with a history of suspected corruption. Indicating the polarized nature of the choice between Duke and Edwards, a popular bumper sticker in favor of Edwards was: "Vote the Crook: It's Important."
In the 1995 governor's race, sixteen candidates ran in the opening round, including four major candidates who ultimately won at least 18% of the vote. The two most ideologically extreme major candidates were Mike Foster, a conservative Republican who earned Pat Buchanan's endorsement and inherited much of David Duke's constituency, and Cleo Fields. a leading liberal Democrat in the Congressional Black Caucus. They advanced to the runoff election with a combined vote of only 45% of votes casts, with the more centrist vote split among other candidates. Foster ultimately was elected in the runoff election.
A Louisiana-style nonpartisan primary easily can produce these kind of results because in a large field of candidates, the top two vote-getters can have relatively few votes. In a multi-candidate field, this rule tends to favor non-moderate candidates with the strongest core support that can be narrow rather than broad.
For more reading on this subject, see:
Unfortunately, your set-up piece is quite incorrect. Washington State did not "step back to its past on August 19th by having an open -- or top two -- primary." There had never before been such a primary in Washington. The previous system was not top two. Instead, it advanced to the general election the top Democrat, the top Republican, and the top candidate of every minor party who received at least 1% of the vote in the primary. Thus, any credible minor party candidate could get onto the general election ballot. That is absolutely not what Measure 65 allows. Measure 65 effectively removes all minor party candidates from the general election ballot by limiting it to the "top two" for each office.
I changed my voter registration from Republican to Independent during the first Bush administration. I knew when I made that decision I would not be voting in primary elections. While there have been times I would have enjoyed voting for a certain candidate I am dead set against open primaries! I firmly believe that the choice of candidates and platforms should be the privilege of persons who commit to one party and work for it. No outsider should be allowed to influence who represents a party in any election. Shannon Moon Leonetti
Measure 65?s proponents have tagged our current process as a ?closed primary.? The reality is that this measure is not an ?open primary,? but a ?top two primary? which takes away the rights of minority parties and will actually disenfranchise many voters and qualified candidates.
In fact, the three prominent minor parties in the state are AGAINST this initiative! The Pacific Green Party, the Independents and the Libertarians ALL signed statements asking Oregon voters to vote NO on this issue. If this is supposed to create MORE access for minor parties, why are they all so afraid of it?? Because they have seen what happened in Hawaii (who no longer has this system) and Louisiana and don?t want to see that sort of baiting and switching here in Oregon!!
It sounds like voting in the primary is being confused with party nomination process. With the present system, only those that are allowed to vote are allowed to nominate. Why should that be? Why should taxpayers fund the party nomination process? Suppose women were still not allowed to vote. Shouldn't they be allowed to nominate a "Women's Suffrage Party" candidate as long as the candidate otherwise qualifies for the ballot? If yes, then the secretary of state has no business in the party nomination process.
Bobr in Salem
Oregon?s current system encourages candidates from multiple parties on the general election ballot. But under this proposal, in many corners of Oregon, the ?top two? candidates could in fact be from the same party, eliminating real choices between the candidates for the voting public. This is exactly what happened in Washington State?s recent primary, which was their first try with the preclusive primary system.
In November, Washington State will have 8 legislative races with just ONE party represented and 15 legislative races that are uncontested. Clearly the ?top two primary? system does not increase the choices available to voters.
If we want to end partisan bickering there are OTHER solutions! We should focus on increasing voter turnout rather than manipulating the ballot!
I question who is behind this measure! I took a quick look at the folks who are funding this at the Secretary of State's website... I see a LOT of big $$ from some of the state's LARGEST corporations! Why is this so attractive to so many big corporations? Is it because without a party endorsement system the big corporations now will have access to campaigns through large donations? That now someone with no endorsement from ANY party can now move through this system so long as they have the funds in the bank? We need to take some time and look at who is pushing this through before we jump on board!!
Minor parties are "ENTHUSIASTIC" about a top two?! Really?! What about the Green Party and the Libertarian party who oppose this? What about the Independent Party? Oregon's minor parties are not only NOT enthusiastic about this initiative, they are fighting against it!!
"Open Primary" or "Top Two", neither means anything to the average voter. So the name doesn't matter that much. If there is a difference, please explain it.
There are problems with almost every system regarding candidates making the "top two" with only a fraction of the vote, unless there was a "top half", which may require 7 run off elections if there were 64 candidates on the first ballot.
If you want to be sticklers for terminology, STOP CALLING IT A PRIMARY!!!
Our present system should not be called a primary, it should be called a party nomination election. When voters who have no party affiliation can not vote (Oregon present system) or has to choose a party ballot (old WA system), it is not a primary!
Bobr in Salem
As a voter, shouldn?t I have more choices, not fewer? Limiting our general election ballot to choosing between the lesser of two evils, as a result of who has the biggest campaign war chest is no way for Oregon to run our elections. Just because Washington State has headed down this road, doesn?t mean we should! If there is a concern about how the primary?s work, let?s fix them, not throw them out all together! Does it make sense to change who can have access to the ballot?
Rather than an open primary, we need to shift to instant runoff voting.
That is the only way to eliminate the 'lesser of two evils' system that has been alowed to develop.
I am opposed to the top-two primary system--it is not an "open" primary. The misnomer is incredibly misleading to voters. Most likely the polls that Mr. Kiesling reported were similarly misnamed and misrepresented. The system would be restrictive, not more fair or open. It is open to and even invites manipulation and deception. Much better options for improving the electoral system in Oregon and nationwide are instant runoff voting and proportional representation. This initiative is counterproductive to more open voter representation.
Barbara Dudley writes:
But the Oregon Initiative is better than Washington's law because it provides a way for parties to endorse candidates. Thus, "minor" parties will have an equal role with "major" parties in both primary and general elections.
With all due respect to someone I admire (Barbara Dudley), this statement is patently absurd.
The only way a minor party would have an "equal role" is to be on the general election ballot as they are today. Period.
Trying to pretend that some "fusion hybrid" makes up for not being on the ballot is incomplete at best and downright dishonest at worst.
And we all know who will be on the general election ballot. That's right! The top fundraisers. Who will the top fundraisers be? That's right!
The same people they are today.
The parties who don't succumb to corporate contributions or to high level contributors don't stand a chance of making the top two. Pretending othewise is intellectually dishonest.
Furthermore, if I wanted to vote for a Democrat or a Republican, I would vote for them. I don't see how "labeling" my vote as "green" has any kind of real impact on expediting the need to limit the power of the duopoly to continue putting up roadblocks to true electoral reforms.
While some may have good intentions, they are simply misguided or disconnected from the reality of the way our current political system works.
It's about the money people!
I hope nobody would try and deny that???
The only real power that minor parties have in Oregon today is the opportunity to nominate their candidates and have them appear on the general election ballot where citizens can learn that they do have options and they don't have to continue to settle for the "lesser of two evils".
The top two primary system will destroy minor parties in Oregon.
Phil Keisling's dismissive and arrogant tone has turned me off to this measure. He is skipping or dismissing the relevant conversations. I was interested in hearing a thoughtful discussion of this issue. Keisling hasn't helped "his" cause.
I have often wanted to vote in a different parties primary but only to vote for the more "beatable" candidate. How will this inevitable consequence impact the elections?
Will Phil Keisling run for Governor if this passes?
To critics who say he is doing this in large part because he doesn't believe he can win the Democratic Primary, is he willng to pledge that he won't run for Governor?
I think I was called for the poll that the sponsors are using to claim that a high percentage of voters support this change. It was a "push" poll in which the poller kept "educating" me with another argument in favor of the initiative each time I said that no, I did not support the change. Mr. Keisling said when he mentioned this poll that a large majority supported the initiative "once they understood it". The devil is in the details on this one.
Hello I think that NOT being able to choose who I want to VOTE for WITHOUT saying who I want to VOTE Before I Vote is UNCONSTUTIONAL
I am an independent (not the party Independent) voter. I don't understand why I have to pay taxes to pay for an election in which I am unable to participate. Why not allow the parties to hold their own primaries... but they have to pay for their own elections? I have to change my registration to vote in the primary. I can't run for any office unless it is nonpartisan.
Phil?s stats are WRONG! This was NOT the highest voter turnout since 1972! Washington?s recent primary fell short of the Secretary of State turnout goal by almost 5% and was not much of an improvement in turnout over the old system. If the goal of the top two primary is to allow more people to vote, it appears to be a failure.
"Open Primary" is a biased frame. We could also call it "Closed General" (because it excludes minor party candidates).
Please ask your on-air host to consider using a less biased frame, like "Top Two Primary."
sounds like the general feeling is that the current system is no good and that measure 65 is no good. i agree. if measure 65 is defeated, will people think that is an endorsement of the current system? i hope not. if it is defeated we should work to get some form of ranked choice/instant runoff system as a future measure--it's hard to argue against a system as fair as that one; it's as democratic as can be.
Thank you, BendListener, that's the sensible idea. The Cajun primary being proposed under 65 is the worst of all possible worlds --- maintains an expensive and unnecessary primary round, while eliminating diversity of opinion and squashing minor parties.
It's a sad testament to the collapse of the initiative system that proponents of this idea were able to sell it as responding to "disenfranchisement" of independents. Nobody is disenfranchised by not being able to steer an organization to which they don't belong. Just like I can't help select leaders for the Rotary (because I don't belong) or Nike's board (because I don't own Nike stock), I am not disenfranchised by not having a say in which candidates other parties put forth.
What's really sad is the implicit (and sometimes explicit) slam on politically active and engaged people as too "extreme." Apparently people who actually get involved in campaigns -- who do more than get their opinions on issues from TV spots aimed at the least common denominator -- are "extremists," and the apathetic folks who can't be bothered to do more than mail in a ballot now and then are the gold standard for political wisdom and "moderation."
Instant Runoff Voting is a much better idea --- allows all parties to have a shot, and lets voters rank their choices 1, 2, 3, and so on, so they never need worry about spoilers. We can get the state out of the primary business entirely and let each party determine its own method of choosing its nominee (another place where IRV shines). With Oregon's mail-in ballots already in place, IRV is the perfect system, and it actually addresses a real problem (spoilers) rather than an imagined one ("disenfranchisement" of independents).
How about this?
For some Multnomah County position, 10 D's and 2 R's run in the primary. The 10 D's split the (let's say) 70% of the voters in Multnomah County who are D's and each gets about 7% of the vote. The 2 R's split the 30% who are R's so they each get about 15%.
Come November, you get 2 R's running for the position in Multnomah County. The moaning, wailing, and rending of garments will be a sight to behold...
I could not support this more. I am not affiliated with a party and would like to vote in the oregon primary election. I see this as a chance for people to say none of the above or why not this person. furthermore, we need to get rid of the electoral college, my vote should count not some super delegate, delegate or electoral college forum. one vote one person each person.
1) Under current law, you can register with any party and vote in their primary. So if that is all you want, you already got it.
2) "None of the above" is not an option in the proposed "top two" primary system.
3) The electoral college and superdelegates do not have anything to do with measure 65.
In short, if you want to vote none of the above or vote in a specific primary, all you have to do is register with the party you want to vote in the primary for.
Killing minor parties is not the solution to what you want, so when you say "I could not support this more, you seem to be confused".
Comments are now closed.