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Oregon Nov 2008 Election Ballot Measures (so far)


From the Salem Statesman Journal, we read “Measures assigned their numerical designations: A dozen items will appear on Nov. 4 ballot, state says,” by Peter Wong, August 2, 2008

Measure approved for the ballot to date include these:

MEASURE 54: Allows 18-year-olds to vote in school board elections, consistent with their eligibility to vote in state and federal elections. The minimum voting age for school board elections is 21, set by voters in a 1948 constitutional amendment. The voting age for state and federal elections was lowered to 18 in 1971.

MEASURE 55: Allows legislators to complete their elected terms in their original districts even if they are placed elsewhere through redistricting plans, which are drawn every 10 years after each census. The next plan is set for 2011, after the 2010 Census.

MEASURE 56: Exempts May and November elections from the state constitution’s “double-majority” requirement, which requires 50 percent of registered voters to cast ballots and a majority of voters to approve property-tax measures. Currently only the general election in even-numbered years is exempt from the requirement, which voters approved in 1996.

MEASURE 57: Increases prison sentences for drug trafficking, theft against older persons, and repeat property and identity-theft offenders; requires addiction treatment for some offenders.

MEASURE 58: Bars bilingual education of public-school students after two years of enrollment.

MEASURE 59: Allows full deduction of federal income taxes on state income-tax returns. Similar measures were defeated in 2000 and 2006.

MEASURE 60: Bars use of seniority to determine teacher pay in favor of “classroom performance.”

MEASURE 61: Sets mandatory minimum prison sentences for property, identity theft and drug offenders.

MEASURE 62: Reallocates 15 percent of state lottery proceeds to public safety fund for crime prevention, investigation and prosecution. Shares of the lottery already are earmarked in the state constitution for specific purposes.

MEASURE 63: Exempts improvement projects under $35,000 from building permit requirements.

MEASURE 64: Bars use of “public resources” to collect union dues for political purposes. Similar measures were defeated in 1998 and 2000.

MEASURE 65: Changes the primary election to advance the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, to the general election. Currently only voters registered with a major political party can vote in a primary to nominate that party’s candidates for the general election.

(link to full article)

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One response to “Oregon Nov 2008 Election Ballot Measures (so far)”

  1. I’m an attorney with election law experience and I’m personally committed to direct democracy. I’ve worked on and drafted statewide ballot measures, Public Utility District formation petitions, recall and referral petitions and local initiative drafting for 30 years.

    I was the sponsor of the petition drive to form the Independent Party of Oregon, but the IPO has taken no position on the so-called “open primary,” Ballot Measure 65 on the November ballot in Oregon, because of a split among the voting delegates, but I do not want to see the Constitution, Green, Working Families and Peace parties silenced. My opposition is not based on “sour grapes”– In fact, IPO is one of only 2 of the minor and emerging parties in Oregon which would survive the effects of BM 65, which will wipe out parties with fewer than 10,000 registered members who now maintain their legal status by running candidates who receive at least 1% of the vote in statewide general elections.

    I have absolutely no financial ties to BM 65, pro or con, and I am not being paid for this post–I am opposed to BM 65 because it’s poorly drafted. It will reduce meaningful citizen involvement in collective action and direct democracy. It was put on the ballot by big money interests which will get the candidates they “want” under BM 65.

    BM 65 Makes Special Interests Even More Powerful in Picking Candidates.

    Now, why would Oregon’s largest land speculators, industry lobbyists, and a smelter owner pay a lot of money to get BM 65 on the ballot? (I mean a lot,-–about $405,000.00 to pay for signatures and related expenses so far).

    OR has no campaign contribution limits at all–none. Any of you reading this live in the 45 states that actually limit money in state races, may not realize how totally corrupting unlimited money from special interests can be.

    OR votes by mail exclusively. The May primary ballots go out to voters in April. That means the money race for enough cash to make the top-two will start in the winter. The big funders will “anoint” their chosen top-two and then help “elect” the winner in the (even more) expensive November general election.

    The backroom deals to get the major party “endorsements” which will appear on the primary ballot will be out of public view. This means selection and promotion of candidates that is even less transparent than presently.

    BM 65 allows political punking and dirty tricks

    At the same time, below-the-radar campaigns by ideologues with a core constituency of say 15-20% in the low turnout May election can secure one of the top-two spots (Hello, David Duke, who twice made the top-two runoff in the Louisiana version of this top-two–once in the Governor’s race and once for Senate).

    In a crowded field, the top-two can be the “winners” with as little as 18% of the vote. And expect political dirty tricks to make sure that the May ballot has lots of “candidates” who will split the votes. Anyone can re-register as a “Democrat,” or “Republican” only 70 days before the filing deadline, so expect a surge of these newly-minted candidates to try to split the opposing party’s vote.

    Stifles citizen voices.

    Independent voters engage in personal democracy, they want their votes to count. But actual political strength and the power to change history come from the other great parts of the First Amendment–our freedoms of association and to collectively petition the government.

    A vote is an individual act, concerted action is what brought about Abolition, women’s suffrage, trust busting, the social safety net, environmental proctection, the end to the last tragic, pointless war.

    A robust democracy needs more voices, often brought to prominence through political campaigns. Killing minor parties and wiping out citizen sponsored candidates (in Oregon candidates can now get on the ballot thru petition or through assemblies of 1000 voters) is bad for Oregon.

    In practice, the need for insurgent and competitive candidates cannot be known until after the tradidtional May primary. In Oregon, citizens (led by the Grange) had to draft a candidate for governor by petition in 1930 because the major party candidates were hand-picked by corporate interests and opposed rural power development and action to lift Oregon out of the depression. Julius Meier won by 54% of the total vote, more than the other candidates combined vite. Abraham Lincoln won the presidency on a “minor” party ticket. The hell-raisers from the Populist and Progressives brought reform into the political mainstream through their candidates and platforms.

    Too many drafting flaws to describe in detail.

    The Bill is poorly drafted. It fails to integrate dozens of current state election law statutes.

    It deprives the existing parties of the right to “nominate” candidates at all, a federal First Amendment violation which caused the State of Virgina to alter its compulsory open primary system after losing at the Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit (the appeals level just below the US Supreme Cout).

    It does not harmonize with federal election law. In particular, by not allowing party nominations, it thrreatens the rights of parties to support their federal candidates becasue FEC rules allow coordinated financial support only by state parties in support of their “nominees.” The top-two runoff candidates are not “party nominees.”

    If you live in Oregon–Read BM 65 and understand it before you vote. If it needs “a fix” to make it work, then vote “NO.” Voting for a hastily designed measure in the hopes it will get “fixed” is a bad idea. Do we want elected legislators to vote for any old thing and then promise to “fix” it somehow, sometime? As citizen legislators who vote of laws before us, we should hold ourselves to a high standard.

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