Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ballot Measure 90: The “Top Two Primary”

The Oregon Republican Party opposes, in its entirety, Ballot Measure 90, which imposes a Top Two Primary system on Oregon voters.

Oregon already has a competitive elections system that allows for groups of citizens to freely form and govern their own associations, called political parties, and for choosing who shall represent them on the ballot as a choice for all voters. All Oregon voters have free choice in a representative democracy to join any political party they choose and to enjoy the  advantages of doing so.

It cannot be denied that Ballot Measure 90 seeks to deprive groups of voters the opportunity to nominate a single candidate to represent them in an election. To deny voters a combined voice in selecting their nominee is fundamentally un-American.

Ballot Measure 90 would take people who want to be represented by the best candidate possible -- the one that reflects the principles and policies they share -- and force them to be represented by candidates who are willing to masquerade as holding their values. This serves to disenfranchise voters, who are already frustrated with inconsistent representation.

In addition, Ballot Measure 90 has the immediate effect of freezing out minor party candidates from the general election. It even is possible for two candidates of the same party to be on the general election ballot! This hardly “promot[es] citizen confidence in their government” as claimed in the measure’s pre-amble. This ballot measure eliminates the election of concerned citizens who wish to be actively involved in the political process.

In direct contradiction to the assertions made by supporters of Ballot Measure 90, this measure would tend to impair thoughtful debate by preventing bold contrasts in general elections in favor of “pale” pastels. Vague issue stances and personality-driven campaigns would dominate,
thereby diminishing voter choice and ultimately discouraging participation in general elections.

Ballot Measure 90 would promote electioneering in favor of established incumbents with high name recognition and big political bank accounts by diminishing organized opposition to them from regular citizens. All this makes worse a common complaint by many voters about the futility of voting. Money and position should not be the deciding factors in elections.

Oregon Republican Party Executive Committee Statement <>

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