Oregon has a system of initiative and referendum. Frankly, most of the measures that end up on the ballot are more self serving than anything else. But, if you can get enough signatures on a petition onto the ballot they go. Including Measure 65, I think this is one of the good ones.
Republicans and Democrats in this state don’t agree about much but they do agree that making it harder for independents to vote or get on the ballot is a VERY GOOD THING INDEED. So, the very latest VERY BAD THING is Measure 65. This would create an open primary where everybody, no matter which party you belong to, gets to vote on everybody, no matter which party they belong to.
Back in 2005 the legislature passed a bill that makes it almost impossible for independent candidates to qualify. The bill counts a signature on a qualifying petition the same as a vote. In other words if you sign a petition to let Joe Six Pack run for governor as an independent you can’t vote for someone else when the actual primary is held. Of if the independent candidate manages to qualify by petition after the primary and you voted in the primary your signature doesn’t count. Are we all lost yet? Don’t feel bad. I had to read the news story more than once to make any sense of what was going on. Then I got mad. I believe my first reaction was “what the F&*%!” Then it was “you’ve got to be kidding.”
Measure 65 would allow an open primary and the top two candidates for any office would go to the general election. It wouldn’t matter if the top two were Democrats, Republicans or wombats, their names would be on the ballot.
Don’t think of the parties as collections of people, think of them as competing brands; say Coke and Pepsi. They want to protect their market share and want to limit the shelf space of any competing “beverages.” Both parties offer a brand name to donors; that’s how they raise their money. And the donors want to get the biggest bang and the most influence for their bucks, that’s why they prefer “Coke” or “Pepsi” over any competing brands. And, I believe, the biggest reason for this interminable, mind numbing campaign season. The earlier the choices are finalized, the better chance they have of influencing policy decisions.
I’m voting yes on Measure 65. I say, take it out for spin and see how it works. Anything to break the log jam here in Oregon. A Republican can’t get on the ballot here in Oregon without pandering to the right wing of the party. Problem is, once they’re on the ballot they can’t pull enough votes from the state wide center to get elected. Even worse there are some Democratic candidates basically running unopposed. And, in my opinion, this is NOT A GOOD THING.
And if Measure 65 doesn’t work, repeal it. After all, that’s what elections are for.
Cross posted on Pixels.