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barbara dudley's comments:
Measure 65, Oregon's so-called "open primary" initiative, is not a carbon copy of Washington State's new law. In fact it includes some significant improvements.
As with the Washington law, everyone ? Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Greens, Libertarians, Working Families Party voters, nonaffiliated voters ? would be able to vote for any candidate in all primary and general elections. As with Washington's law, the top two candidates in the Primary advance to the General.
But the Oregon Initiative is better than Washington's law because it provides a way for parties to endorse candidates. Thus, "minor" parties will have an equal role with "major" parties in both primary and general elections. In order to endorse candidates on the ballot, any Party will need about 10,000 registrants. That's that?s not a bad thing. Requiring some number of supporters is a fair way to prevent ballot clutter.
Even more importantly, Oregon's Measure 65 will allow cross-endorsement of candidates. That's a good thing. The Oregon Independent and Working Families parties recently brought a lawsuit seeking the right to cross-endorse, meaning a candidate could run as Democrat-Working Families or Republican-Independent. This provides valuable information to voters about who stands for what. Measure 65 would establish cross-endorsement as the law in Oregon.
Will cross-endorsement confuse voters? No. It actually provides more information to voters by telling them which parties support which candidates. Oregon voters will appreciate having more information about where the candidates stand on issues.
There are downsides to Measure 65 which is why the Working Families Party took a neutral stance on the Measure. On the positive side, it allows all voters to participate in primary elections, provides more information to voters, and allows minor parties to play a more constructive role. It does not allow a voter to register a Party preference, however, which would be possible if each Party had its own ballot line.
Another danger is that the Open Primary can give an advantage to the richest candidate, because the candidate will have to reach out to the entire electorate in both the primary and the general election. We also need solid campaign finance reform that limits the power of big money in politics.
posted 4 years, 8 months ago
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