Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More conversation on Oregon Top Two Primary and Measure 65

This just in from Oregon Independent:

Dan is overstating the case a bit. The Working Families party supports M65, and the Independent Party of Oregon is split on the measure and will not take a position.

The Libertarians and Greens don't like it because they are more interested in running protest candidates than they are winning races.

I disagree with his analysis that M65 will remove general election ballot access for Independents and other minor parties. 44 percent of all legislative races are currently not contested, and the Republicans did not field a candidate in 2 out of the 5 statewide races (AG, Labor Comissioner) during this cycle.

As someone who has spent some time recruiting candidates, I would much rather play by the same rules that the major parties play under.


danmeek said...

Measure 65 will destroy minor parties in Oregon, reduce voter choices, confuse the ballots, and encourage dirty politicking.

Today, Oregon's six minor parties can provide good alternatives to the Democratic and Republican candidates in the November general election. Measure 65 will stop this.

Measure 65 will abolish the Pacific Green, Constitution, Working Families, and Peace parties by removing their legal basis to exist (getting 1% of the vote in a statewide general election).

Measure 65 is also intended by its sponsors to remove all minor party and citizen-sponsored candidates from the general election ballot, including those supported by tens of thousands of signatures.

Measure 65 will allow effective ballot sabotage.

Under Measure 65, anyone can register as, say, a "Republican" and immediately file to run for public office, with "Registered: Republican" next to his name on the ballot, whether or not anyone in the Republican Party knows him (he may be a Nazi, Communist, convicted child molester, etc.).

Each party will try to reduce the resulting voter confusion by "endorsing" a candidate in each race. This means Measure 65 will replace the major party primaries with backroom "endorsement" deals. It will also force minor parties to "endorse" major party candidates they do not agree with, just to oppose the strangers on the ballot who suddenly claim to be "their" candidates.

Primary elections could become a game of "ringers," with political consultants recruiting phony candidates just to split the votes of the other parties. Republican consultants could recruit people to register and file as "Democratic" candidates, thereby splitting the Democratic vote and allowing two Republican candidates to win the "top two" primary and proceed to the general election, alone.

Democrats could recruit phony "Republicans." Both of them could recruit phony "Independents." Every party in every primary election can be sabotaged this way, under Measure 65.

Expect a confusing ballot, with a dozen or more candidates for each major office who are "Registered" and/or "Endorsed" by the surviving parties.

N. Hanks said...

Dan, as I commented on Free Citizen in response to your colleague Linda Williams: As a long-time activist in independent politics, and the Secretary of the Queens County Committee of the Independence Party of New York, I am disappointed but unfortunately not surprised by the IP of Oregon's position on open primaries.

The effect of Measure 65 would be to allow independent voters and all voters to vote in the first round of voting, NOT destroy third parties. If it were that easy to destroy third parties, they'd all be gone because the major parties would have seen to it by opening primaries in all states.

But wait! Primaries are open in 33 states, and yet third parties persist.

What's wrong with this picture?

Open primaries is important for independent VOTERS to be able to participate in elections in a meaningful way. Many independent voters choose third party candidates in the elections. How would you lose their support in the first round of voting (what you continue to call "the primary") if they were allowed to vote?

What you're calling the general election would effectively become the runoff between the top two vote getters in the open first round of voting.

Open primaries empower the voters, not parties.

If the IPO cares about democracy, they will reconsider their position and support independent voters.