Phil Keisling: Leading Oregon Toward Socialism (?!)

We missed this when it was first published last week, but it's so... interesting... that we can't pass it up now.

Right-wing radio host and columnist Jayne Carroll swung a wild, roundhouse punch at the One Ballot open primary measure in an editorial in the Hillsboro Argus:

Kiesling's scheme is much more sinister. He wants all voters to select from a single list where all candidates from all parties appear. The top two primary vote getters will then face each other in the general election. Nice, if you are a liberal Portland Democrat like Kiesling.

Keisling's proposal, for all effective purposes, prohibits parties from selecting their own general election nominees while giving inordinate power to liberal, highly populated regions like Portland and Eugene.

If Oregonians want our statewide general election ballots to look like Portland's so-called "nonpartisan" races where fall voters have a "choice" between one left-wing extremist and another, Phil Kiesling's open primary proposal is the perfect path to a perpetually socialist Oregon.

Note: it's spelled "Keisling", but her inconsistent spelling is hardly the strangest thing in this column.

Read the rest. Visit the One Ballot campaign. Discuss.

  • Baloo (unverified)

    Isn't the right answer to this just make primaries strictly party business, like the primaries are for every other party except Democrats and Republicans? Why should the two major parties get to foist internal politics onto the elections department when nobody else does?

    Open primaries are not the answer. Taking the elections division out of the primaries and let the parties handle their own internal politics by themselves for a change is.

    Don't forget to vote Democratic Socialist!

  • anony (unverified)

    I think baloo may be on to something here's my question: why do independents pay for the parties' primaries that they don't get to participate in? Either we pay and play or we don't pay and don't play.

  • J. Smalls (unverified)

    In reading the supposed "One Ballot" measure, one finds this nugget:

    (e) The names of candidates for election as precinct committeeperson, and, in a presidential election year, the names of candidates for the political party nomination for President of the United States who qualified for the ballot under ORS 249.078, all listed separately on a ballot page labeled “Primary Ballot for the __ Party” and made available only to members of the applicable political party.

    So, even the name is misleading. It requires a second ballot be created where a second does not now need to exist? That sounds confusing and expensive.

    I remain wary.

  • J. Smalls (unverified)

    And while I really don't like this idea, it's hardly leading toward socialism. This would benefit Republicans in Oregon FAR more thand Democrats, which is why conservative groups like AOI are supporting it. It just makes no sense any way.

    (It's not a surprise this article was missed when it first came out: You must not be one of crazy Jayne's regular three readings.)

  • (Show?)

    A theme like this has been going around for a while. A few months ago, a GOP county chair in rural Oregon claimed on a listserv that this was a plot fostered by Democratic Party of Oregon leaders to create runoffs that excluded Republicans. When I pointed that that no one in the DPO leadership has endorsed the One Ballot proposal, and that most have declared their opposition, he all but called me a liar. Unlike most of my colleagues, I haven't decided where I am on the One Ballot proposal. I believe that the election process, at all stages, belongs to the voters, not the the parties, but I don't like one-party runoff elections. Despite claims on both sides, I don't think One Ballot elections favor moderates or extremists, but I can see where they get their arguments. I do think it could result in huge drop (not the dribble we have now) in party registration, and that could have unintended consequences. I've always been a supporter of opening the primaries to independents. Whether this is the best way to do that, I'm not sure yet.

  • william Neuhauser (unverified)

    One one aspect, she gets at the questions, which One Ballot has addressed at their website, about whether or not it "weakens" the parties. Old news.

    But the statement "while giving inordinate power to liberal, highly populated regions like Portland and Eugene," makes no sense. It doesn't change anything about the regional power relationships. The reason highly populated areas have more influence is that they have more people ... a fundamental basis of democracy. A truly minor party (Republicans in Portland) candidate that can't reach a majority of voters in Portland is not going to win elections in Portland in either system.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    I believe Dan Meek's analysis of One Ballot's effect is accurate: the power of the major parties will be enhanced, not weakened.

    But, hey, why miss a chance to take a potshot at them socialists in Por'land?

  • Stella (unverified)

    Anony asked, "Why do independents pay for the parties' primaries that they don't get to participate in?"

    1. Because it is in everyone's interest when party nominations occur through a robust, open, democratic election, rather than the backroom convention-style nomination.

    2. Independents are not barred from voting in partisan primaries. If they wish to vote in a party's primary, all they need to do is register with that party. There is no consequence of how you register other than your voting status in the primary. So no one is prevented from voting. (Think about it: your question is like asking, "Why are people who don't return their ballots to the elections office prevented from voting?" Duh... they're not; they've chosen to exclude themselves from the process.)

    3. Even if you don't believe #1 and #2 above, I don't understand the appeal of your argument. The public pays for many, many services that not everyone benefits from. Only farmers benefit from farm subsidies. Only low-income earners benefit from welfare. Only college students (many of whom attend exclusive private colleges) benefit from government-subsidized loans. So what? Just because not everyone benefits doesn't mean it's not in the public interest to fund it.

    Wayne Kinney also raises a good point: if you don't like closed primaries, then work to get the parties to open their primaries to independents -- or to anyone -- as occurs in many states.

    Why support this initiative, when (1) it will significantly increase the cost of elections, boosting the role of big-money in politics; (2) it will result in undemocratic results (when multiple candidates from the same party divide their base and knock each other out, leaving the general election to two members of the same party); (3) it can tend toward extremist election results, when moderate candidates divide their base and knock each other out in the primary; (4) it abridges party members' right to freely associate and select their own nominee.

    I don't get it.

  • R.E. Prindle (unverified)

    Why even bother to hold elections? Heck, everybody just seems to know what's right. Just appoint a benevolent dictatator who will do what 'you' whoever you is, wants.

    Who's going to appoint him? Why, 'you', of course.

  • (Show?)

    Wow that woman is pretty nuts. I have responded to alot of questions and arguments against the Open Primary in this forum and others but I have yet to hear someone acuse Keisling of being a socialist. LOL.

    I don't want to rehash all the arguments for and against here but I did want to reponsd to the concern about having a seperate primary ballot for Presidential primaries. The answer to that is simple.

    While drafting the language we discovered that we could not fold the Presidential primary into this intiative due to federal Consitutional issues. Oregon statutory law does not regulate Presidential elections.

    But really - when has the Oregon Presidential primary ever mattered anyway? I kid, I kid....sort of.

    The bottom line for why a progressive Dem like myself is supporting this effort with my time and money is that I have come to care more about the issues that matter to me and my family (environment, living wages, domcratic reform etc) then the Democratic party.

    I believe every voter in this state (including independents) should have to right and the choice to choose whatever candidate they feel best represents them on the issues regardless of party (hell I would find myself voting Green alot more in an open primary system) AT THE BEGINING OF THE PROCESS.

    Right now, a great number of concernced Oregonians who choose to not affiliate are given a limited menu in November with no say in those menu choices.

    That to me is fundamentally undemocratic.

  • djk (unverified)

    If Oregonians want our statewide general election ballots to look like Portland's so-called "nonpartisan" races where fall voters have a "choice" between one left-wing extremist and another, Phil Kiesling's open primary proposal is the perfect path to a perpetually socialist Oregon.

    Really? Okay, I must have overlooked the part of the proposal where the Legislature is transformed from representatives of sixty house districts and thirty senate districts to ninety at-large seats that will be voted on by every single person in the state.

    The reason Portland elects "left wing extremists" is because every seat on City Council is at-large. Every person in Portland votes for every member of the Council. It's scarcely surprising that you wind up with a certain ideological harmony, when the same majority of voters (in most cases) wind up deciding every election. In an "open primary" system each district should consistently elect people who reflect the values of the majority of voters within that district. That's obviously a problem for partisan hacks and wingnuts, but the rest of us shouldn't have much to complain about.

  • (Show?)

    If Carroll's going to take partisan swipes, she should at least note that One Ballot was also crafted by Norma Paulus, and has the support of Republican/non-Portland Senator Frank Morse, Independent/non-Portland Ben Westlund, and any number of other non-socialists.

  • (Show?)


    I believe every voter in this state (including independents) should have to right and the choice to choose whatever candidate they feel best represents them on the issues regardless of party (hell I would find myself voting Green alot more in an open primary system) AT THE BEGINING OF THE PROCESS.

    I appreciate your commitment but I humbly submit that it is far more likely that the One Ballot will work precisely in the opposite direction.

    One Ballot will reduce, not increase, the number of candidates and thus restrict voter choice.

    Why? By allowing the parties to control the candidates who can use the party label on the ballot (Section 9.3 of the initiative), and implementing a top two system, every political party has a very strong incentive to limit it's label to one and only one candidate. This is the core of Dan Meek's argument that the One Ballot initiative actually empowers party central committees.

    One Ballot limits third party access to the legislature.

    Why? Because One Ballot holds two general elections, one in May and one in November. In most cases, the top two vote getters will be a Dem and a Rep. Nothing in One Ballot changes this. Third parties will in almost all cases be shut out in November.

    Furthermore, this May election is off time with all other November cycle elections. The primary occurs at a time when voters are not paying attention, when media coverage is slight, and turnout is low.

    As Stella pointed out, Independent voters have not been disenfranchised. They made a decision to not affiliate with a political party. The consequence is that they have chosen not to participate in party primaries.

    We could implement day of election affiliation as is done in many states or Independents could participate in third party primaries.

    I just don't think this initiative will do what you think it will do.

  • Jim Frye (unverified)

    I don't like this initiative at all - it smacks of the "nonpartisan" city elections where, more often than not, we end up with stealth Republicans who don't have to declare who they really are. Why should people who want to defeat a party have a say in who they nominate?

    "Open", one ballot primaries are a throwback to the old Dixiecrat South where, since there was essentially one party, the primary was the general election. We don't need it, and I don't want Republicans or Constitution party nuts deciding who the "best" (read: easiest to defeat) Democrat is for me.

    Phil? You may have meant well, but please take your experiment in nonpartisan partisanship and stuff it.

  • (Show?)

    Jim, your characterization doesn't quite match the bill. There aren't a lot of scenarios where tactical voting (i.e., voting for the "worst" guy in the opposing party) would work out under One Ballot. And it is already possible to vote tactically (by registering for the opposing party.)

    I think tactical voting is a fringe issue in this debate. I'd rather see the debate focus on more common scenarios. I'll try to make a more pointed post tomorrow.

  • J. Smalls, (unverified)

    Jeremy, Thanks for trying to address the question why the one ballot initiative for the first time ever mandates two ballots for primaries. You don't have to include the presidential race in this initiative but you also didn't have to require a completely seperate ballot, did you?

  • Ron Buel (unverified)

    Actually, my friend Jayne has an argument -- she just doesn't get it right. In a state in which moderate republicans and independents far outnumber the rightwing conservatives, having one ballot for all in the "Red" part of Oregon -- rural and small town Oregon -- will mean that we have more moderates in the legislature, the main place in which this ballot measure will play itself out.

    Why? Because the Democrats will be choosing between two Republicans in the general election in the rural and small town districts. That is, the Democrats and independents will be affecting the outcome -- pushing it to the center in Red Oregon, while today they don't have a say.
    This will make it MORE DIFFICULT for conservative leaders like Karen Minnis to punish the Republicans who don't stay in line with her conservative ways. The Republican primaries are the only place that the right-wing conservatives really have control in this state. Minnis has, in effect, used that in holding power in the House and keeping her caucus in line -- imposing discipline where it otherwise wouldn't exist, punishing those who stray on the social and economic issues by beating them in the primaries. This measure, which I hope will get on the ballot, will open the door for a return to a less adversarial legislature, and that is good for all of us, including us Portland liberals who can't get anything done in Salem. So Jayne is right, and AOI which supported Socialist Keisling's measure with big bucks, doesn't get it.

    On the Democratic side, it is POSSIBLE there could be negative impacts of pushing people to the center when they shouldn't go there. But, frankly, the creation of a new party by Labor -- which puts up most of the money for Democrats running in the legislature (and in the statewide offices) tells us non-union-member Democratic party activists exactly where we stand and how much we don't matter. No wonder Labor opposes campaign finance reform -- in Oregon it doesn't really care about people who aren't in unions and their issues. Labor would rather contol a losing progressive majority than win with that majority. That's why you never see positive initiatives come out of Labor -- they always save their money to defend themselves. The answer for those who really support change is in organizations like the Bus Project which fosters direct voter contact in swing disrict general elections (and, yes, tries to work closely with Labor and the Democratic Party).

    The Democratic Party has lost its meaning in Oregon, outside of its ability to fill vacancies under the law, and that Socialist Keisling is just ahead of his times. If the party in Oregon really wanted to do anything, it would impose its own 15% tax on all of the national money which comes to Oregon and through it every four years in the Presidential race. It would use that money to build a real power base.

    I, too, would support a system like that which exists in other countries where the party is powerful and provides cover for dissent and new ideas. But that's not where we're at folks, and clearly not where we're going, at least not in Oregon, and I don't think, in the nation.

    Until we take the money out of the system, and build a politics that is based on doing the right thing for everyone instead of the special interests that give the money, we're not going to make progress. It amazes me how the Democrats, who are outspent 2-1 by Republicans, can't get in behind the kind of campaign finance reform that could lead to real change. Just look at who Our Oregon lined up against the Meek and Lonsdale measures. The Kevin Looper argument -- we need more jobs in politics for progressives. Yeah, Kevin, right. Encourage those progressives who belong to well-financed organizations to keep their power base at the cost of the public interest, and lose because the other side can get its inititives on the ballot and we can't or won't because those with the money want to save their money to protect themselves and the status quo and their little jobs.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    Ron Buel brings up several interesting points.

    I agree with his analysis of One Ballot's effect in rural Oregon, that is, if the measure operates as intended. I suspect, though, that Dan Meek is correct about One Ballot enhancing the power of major parties, and that each party will annoint one and only one candidate; one who pleases its officers and central committee. Then, rather than moving to the middle, the parties may diverge.

    I also lament labor's opposition to the campaign finance initiatives that have just made the ballot. I believe that opposition springs from the reluctance of the unions' professional political people to work under a new system, one that may make them work harder for political contributions. This is shortsighted at best, and selfish at worst. The initiatives were designed to enhance the power of grassroots contributors and decrease the power of fat cats. If Labor cannot find advantage in that, there is something very wrong with the union approach to politics.

    The Democratic Party in Oregon and every other state has become impotent in the face of big money politics controlled at the national level. Howard Dean is trying to change that - at least he seems to be - so I would not give up on party politics yet. As usual, it's the money, honey. Campaign finance shapes politics. That is why campaign finance reform is so important. It is too important for members of grassroots organization to allow their leadership to preserve the status quo. Those who care about the interests of democracy, working people, the environment, and people in need should insist that their organizations support the present efforts to reform Oregon's campaign finance system. we can work on perfection later. Opposing good reforms now is the kind of lame move that so empowers the rightwing in this country, allowing a minority to stifle progress toward a better world.

  • Stella (unverified)

    Ron Buel's post is bizarre.

    First, Ron, if you want money to play less of a role in politics, then why would you support a measure that so significantly increases the role of money?

    If One Ballot passes, candidates in every district will need to raise as much for the primary as for the general. Think about it: in a six-way primary, candidates will need to raise a lot of money early to distinguish themselves from the pack. Then in the general, they'll have to raise just as much money to win. And that's in every district, because every Portland district will have two Democrats in a blood-bath general election race (think Tina Kotek v. Mark Kirchmeier, Ben Cannon v. MaryLou Hennrich, etc.), and every Eastern-Oregon district will have two Republicans vying in the general election. The role of money in politics would explode under the One Ballot system.

    Second, Ron, there is actually no reason to believe that the One Ballot system would produce moderate election results. (A) As Tom Civiletti says, above, parties could just move to private, backroom nomiations under the Measure; or (B) if moderate candidates outnumbered extremists (which is likely), the moderates could split their base of support and leave the whackiest candidates from the far right and far left to fight out the general election.

    You say that Democrats will have a greater voice in Republican primaries in eastern Oregon. Why? Wouldn't Democrats just vote for the Democratic candidates in these primaries? Think about it: in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats two-to-one, there is still a high probability that you wind up with one Democrat and one Republican vying in the general election -- and the election result winds up being the exact same as today.

    The real fear is that in important moderate swing districts, election results will be completely unpredictable, leaving a strong likelihood that two Republicans or two extremists could emerge victorious in the primary, the credible candidates having divided their base of support.

  • Susan Abe (unverified)

    Actually, Stella, the mere fact of an election with two candidates instead of a candidate and a sacrificial lamb doesn't mean spending must necessarily explode. That happens only when competing moneyed interests back the two opponents.

    The Kotek-Kirchmeier decision in May came down largely to the fact that Mark Kirchmeier kept standing up in front of groups of constituents, many of them residents since the Flood and many of them newly arrived, made an estimate as to the relative proportions and told them that his 30 years in the area trump Tina's five.

    Really not an issue that's going to bring out the PACs' checkbooks.

  • Stella (unverified)

    Really Susan? Well then how much was spent by Kotek and Kirchmeier in the primary? If you're right, then moneyed interests did not get involved in the race and neither candidate would have had to raise very much at all. Let's see...

    According to the campaigns' respective campaign finance reports: Kotek raised: $80,491. Kirchmeier rasied: $38,477. That sounds like a lot of money to me -- especially for a freshman state rep. primary race in a solidly Democratic district.

    And let's remember, only 5,699 people voted in that primary race! That means the candidates raised about $21 per voter. Now imagine if they had to raise $21 per voter in two elections, but this time the whole electorate gets to vote TWICE! Well, in that district in 2004 -- when there was not any serious legistive race -- 23,898 people voted. So let's assume, for the sake of discussion, that Kotek and Kirchmeier together needed to raise $21 per voter for 24,000 voters in two elections... Get this: They would have needed to raise $504,000 together (or about $250,000 each)!!!

    You may think this is an over-estimate. I don't, but fine -- let's say it is. Even if we cut that number in half and we assumed that they would have each needed to raise about $125,000 -- that is still a TON of money for a primary race that could have been settled for $120,000 total.

    There is no argument here: One Ballot significantly increases the role of money in politics.

  • (Show?)

    A few responses, primarily to Ron.

    1) Ron writes: In a state in which moderate republicans and independents far outnumber the rightwing conservatives ....

    Ron assumes that Independents are moderates, or will vote for more moderate candidates. There is little empirical support for this claim.

    I can only rely on what I know from 40 years of survey research on this subject. Independents break into three groups, "leaners", "pure" Independents (those who persist in saying they are Independent even when asked if they lean), and third party affiliators.

    "Leaners" behave in a more consistent party fashion than do "weak" affiliators. That has long been known. No evidence there that they are more moderate.

    "Pure" independents (estimated to be less than 10% of the national population in a 2004 national poll) do tend to be less extreme ideologically, but they also are FAR less informed and interested about politics and participate FAR less frequently. So this supports Ron on ideological grounds, but it is highly unlikely that this group will swing an election, particularly since they turn out at such low levels.

    Finally, as to third party affiliators, your guess is as good as mine, but I can't see any evidence that they are moderates.

    2) To continue on (1), Ron says that moderate Republicans far outnumber "extreme" right wing Republicans. I don't know precisely what Ron means by this, but if this were true, then we would have already seen more moderate Republicans being elected in "Red" Oregon.

    Perhaps Ron will argue that the party's control over nominations and campaign finance is what has assured the dominance of "extreme" Republican candidates--but One Ballot will only increase this effect by giving party committees far MORE control over the nomination process than they have now.

    3) Ron argues that Democrats in "Red" Oregon will have more influence (as will Republicans in "Blue" Oregon), but this makes all sorts of assumptions about what sort of candidates will emerge in a multicandidate/multiparty contest like we'll witness under the One Ballot scenario.

    As I've argued elsewhere on this blog, and as is shown in Gary Cox's book, a much more likely outcome is clogging of the middle in the first round, with one or more extreme candidates (who tend to have far more committeed followers) emerging into the second round.

    Ron also assumes that Democrats will have much incentive to turn out to vote at all in a race that is essentially already locked up for the opposite party.


    Pete: actually, tactical voting is far from a marginal issue in this debate. Most election reform advocates argue for systems that create the least incentive for tactical voting.

    You may believe that tactical voting will not be widespread under the ONe Ballot system, but surely you cannot deny that One Ballot makes tactical voting far easier than the current system. Voting on the fly for one party or another is just no comparable to forcing an individual to change their party affiliation.

    Simply consider a race where your chosen candidate is clearly leading in the pre-election polls--a not unusual circumstance given the way our districts are drawn. Then you have every incentive to vote for the worst opponent.

  • (Show?)

    I'm not sure yet what I think about what the one ballot proposal will do in practice but projecting "per voter" spending in a low turnout primary into the general election seems like a sleight-of-hand trick.

    They don't charge for TV ads based on how many people vote. The Post Office doesn't give you a rebate on campaign mailings that went to registered voters who didn't happen to vote. The rent on your campaign office doesn't vary based on turnout nor do your staff salaries.

  • Stella (unverified)


    You are completely wrong. Campaigns set their budgets based, in large part, on outreach targets. They decide how many people to send direct mail to based on how many people will be voting. They decide how big their TV media buy needs to be (or if they even need a TV buy) based on how many people will be voting. They decide how big their GOTV effort needs to be based on how many people they need to turn out to win.

    Obviously, campaign fundraising is constrained by how much a campaign can raise (so the Secretary of State candidates raise less than the Governor's race), but there is a huge difference in how much a campaign needs to raise when it is reaching out to only registered Democrats who are likely to vote in the primary, versus reaching out to the whole electorate. Ask any campaign staffer. One Ballot will be much, much more expensive than the current system.

  • (Show?)

    J. Smalls wrote.... Thanks for trying to address the question why the one ballot initiative for the first time ever mandates two ballots for primaries. You don't have to include the presidential race in this initiative but you also didn't have to require a completely seperate ballot, did you?

    Actually, you're wrong on this one. We already have two primary ballots - and have as long as I've been voting in this state. If you're a Democrat in Multnomah County, you'll recall that you got a white ballot and a green ballot this year. The green was for the PCP elections, while the white was for all the other races.

    That'll still be the same thing under the One Ballot measure - because you'd want to make sure that the party's precinct committee people are elected by party members (we're not THAT crazy). The presidential vote gets moved to the green ballot for the federal reasons that Jeremy mentioned.

  • (Show?)

    Stella wrote ... And let's remember, only 5,699 people voted in that primary race! That means the candidates raised about $21 per voter. ... So let's assume, for the sake of discussion, that Kotek and Kirchmeier together needed to raise $21 per voter for 24,000 voters in two elections... Get this: They would have needed to raise $504,000 together (or about $250,000 each)!!!

    ....and you win the "craziest math ever done by a person who never worked on a campaign before" award.

    Remember - campaigns have fixed costs and variable costs. The fixed costs are, well, fixed. As you increase the size of the electorate, you'll boost some variable costs - but the fixed costs stay the same. You pay the same salary to your manager. You pay the same fee to your pollster. The creative costs for your advertising stay fixed (though not the printing and postage.) Your website costs are roughly fixed. etc. etc. etc.

    The Kotek/Kirchmeier race was vibrant, but the voters in that district weren't overwhelmed with outreach. It was, rather, a fairly typical race.

    But, relying on your crazy math, the same intensity of a campaign for the Oregon gubernatorial race in 2002 - with 1.225 million votes cast - should have cost $25.7 million (at $21/vote).

    But it didn't. They spent about $6.7 million. (PDF) There's your fixed vs. variable costs right there, my friend.

  • askquestions1st (unverified)

    Jeremy Wright -

    Thanks for offering proof that you and Keisling either are hucksters or liars, and possibly both. The fact is, if this measure passes, there will be ample basis to challenge it as a violation of federal election law with regard to federal House and Senate races. The arguments have been laid out elsewhere on Blue Oregon.

    So why don't you and Keisling come clean with the voters, and explain how elections for federal House and Senate seats ACTUALLY work in Lousiana as a result of having their primary system struck down for those offices? And how primary elections for federal offices work in Nebraska and other states that have ANY form of "non-partisan"/unified ballot primaries?

    And why don't you discuss for us how "progressive" the state legislatures in states that have ANY version of unified primary balloting? Maybe you could explains how many of those legislatures, reflecting how these schemes actually enhance the political fortunes of more extreme candidates (with a decided advantage to those on the reactionary right), have enacted measures implementing core progressive or even Democratic values such as funding for education and healthcare, protecting the right of labor to organize, supporting the right of choice, or civil unions/marriage regardless of sexual orientation, and so on?

    Despite the clever propagandistic approach of the editorial quoted to start this thread, the very concept and the proof on the ground is that the actual results of these systems which are essentially rooted in arguments about the "wisdom of the mob", are anything but progressive.

    Jeremy, you have a lot of nerve calling anyone nuts.

  • Stella (unverified)

    Kari- Maybe you're right -- maybe my calculation didn't factor in the fixed costs of a campaign. But those account for maybe 1/3 of a campaign's total expenses. As I said in my first post, regardless of whether you except that particular calculation, you can't deny that One Ballot significantly increases the cost of elections. Remember, even if you cut the total I came-up with in half, that's still twice the cost of the Kotek-Kirchmeier primary race.

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    Here is another likely result of Petition 86 that has probably not been mentioned above. It will make the office of precinct committee-person one of the most important offices in the state, because the party central committees will be able, under Section (10)(3) of Petition 86, to decide which candidate(s) get to have the party label on the ballot in the primary election.

    As I have stated in op-eds and other BlueOregon threads, there will be irresistable pressure within each major party to limit the number of its "labeled" candidates in each primary election to one for each office (to ensure getting on the general election ballot and not wasting party resources on a real primary battle).

    While Petition 86 may also cause the major parties to change their governing structures, right now it appears that control ultimately rests with their central committees, which appear to be selected (through several stages) by county precinct-people. Thus, if I were a candidate for an "Open Primary" office, I would certainly want those precinct-people, and their chosen leaders on the central committees, to allow only me to have the party label in the primary, thus guaranteeing my victory and procession to the general election.

    Well-financed candidates would probably develop and fund slates of precinct-person candidates, either county-wide or statewide. Corporations and other big political givers would start contributing to the thousands of candidates for precinct-person that would suddenly appear. Armies of hired canvassers would go door-to-door in each precinct, promoting or denigrating candidates for this office. These would become hotly contested races, as the office of precinct-person would have real power.

    Petition 86 would be a huge boon to the industry of politics, providing hundreds more contested races in each election cycle. This will also increase the power of money in Oregon elections, because only the big spenders will have enough money to influence the outcome of hundreds or thousands of races for precinct-person.

  • (Show?)

    The Secretary of State just reported that Petition 86 fell about 14,000 signatures short of the required 75,630. Final count was 61,985.

    I am very surprised by this. I expected Petition 86 to have a very high validity rate on the second sample and to qualify for the ballot. I expected it so much that I filed some comments yesterday to the Explanatory Statement Committee.

    Note that the validity results reported by the Secretary of State for the various petitions are not directly comparable. He reports only the first sample "results" for those petitions that qualified on the first sample. These were petitions 51, 122, 39, 8, 37, and 6. These "results" are actually about 10.2 percentage points below the aggregate validity rate reported by the counties. The Secretary of State deducts 8 percentage points for assumed duplicate signatures and another 2.2 percentage points to account for the "margin of error." So, while the results for Petition 8 are reported as 66.6%, the actual validity rate determined by signature verifications by the counties was 76.8%.

    This is why the Petition 86 results are so surprising. The Secretary of State shows the validity rate at 67.82% on the combined samples, which means that the aggregate validity rate reported by the counties must have been about 69%. I do not understand how its validity rate could be so much lower than those for Petitions 51, 122, 39, 8, 37, and 6.

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    I forgot to mention that the press reported that the Petition 86 campaign arranged to have all of its petition signor information data-entered, so they could go back and strike out all of the duplicates. Doing this should have eliminated all duplicates and thus produced, on the combined samples, a validity rate 8 percentage points higher than the validity rate reported for Petitions 51, 122, 38, 8, 37, and 6 on the basis of only their first samples (which were each reduced by 8 percentage points to account for assumed duplicates).

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    Mystery solved?

    The Secretary of State worksheet for Petition 86 (both samples together) shows 78.3% validity rate reported by the counties. But it also shows 22 duplicate pairs and 2 triplicate pairs. These duplicates brought down the overall validity rate by 10.5 percentage points, to 67.82%.

    <h2>Conclusion: Looks like the Petition 86 campaign did not scrub their signature sheets for duplicates.</h2>
in the news 2006

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