Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Voting YES on Measure 65 is one step toward opening up the political process to all voters.

Oregon’s independents span the political spectrum from conservative to liberal but—more importantly—many refuse these labels. We don’t like parties—major or minor, which are more concerned with maintaining power and party establishments than representing people. While independents don't like parties, they want to participate in the process and vote for whom they believe is the best candidate.

The current primary election system in Oregon is a closed system. Only voters registered as Democrat or Republican can vote in the primaries, which excludes politically independent Oregonians, 20 percent of registered voters. These are Oregonians who believe that partisan battles have increasingly characterized both national and Oregon politics and have reduced the ability of the Oregon Legislature and Congress to effectively address the issues we face.

Measure 65 is designed to address the disenfranchisement of large numbers of Oregon voters and open up primaries to a greater variety of candidates. You would be able to vote for the candidate you think is best suited for the job regardless of their affiliation.

Given that the current primary system is crucial in selecting the candidates who will be on the general election ballot, independent voters are either disenfranchised or are forced to register with a major party to participate. Given that 400,000 Oregonians are prevented from participating in the primaries, why does the state of Oregon and local election offices spend millions of taxpayer dollars in sponsoring these elections?

The opposition to Measure 65 by the Democratic and Republican parties is to be expected. But it is ironic that some minor parties are opposing Measure 65, when they too can benefit from this reform. We need to make sure that the partisans don't drive a wedge between independent voters and third parties.

This isn’t about ideology! We are coming together as Americans who believe that the political process is so driven by partisanship and special interests that it needs to be reformed.

Voting YES on Measure 65 is one step toward opening up the political process to all voters.

Measure 65 will not address all the issues of Oregon politics but it opens up the political process to greater participation and better representation. Oregon voters have the opportunity now with this measure to begin the overhaul of our political system that will reduce the partisan battles in which we, independents, have been the biggest losers.

Oregon Committee for an Independent Voice
David Ellis
Nancy Cunningham

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