Measure 90: “Top Two” elections deserve an honest debate. We’re not getting one from the Yes side.

By Bill Bradbury of Bandon, Oregon. Bill is a former Senate President and Secretary of State of Oregon.

For an issue as important as election reform, the need for an honest debate is critical. There are few things as precious as our democratic system, and we shouldn’t subject it to dirty political tricks.

And yet, that’s exactly what’s happening with the Measure 90 (“top two” elections) campaign. Rather than having an honest conversation with voters about how the measure would impact Oregon’s future, the proponents of the measure are resorting to phony Voters’ Pamphlet statements and fake opposition websites.

The Yes on 90 campaign has set up a fake “no on 90” website that mocks the opponents of the measure and is meant to fool voters into thinking it’s the actual opposition campaign. I find this deeply dishonest and deceptive, and no way to have a discussion about something as important as how we elect our leaders.

The Yes campaign has also placed several arguments in the official Voters’ Pamphlet that pretend to be from the No side—these are in the section of the voters’ guide dedicated to arguments opposing the measure. The point appears to be to confuse voters about who’s opposing the measure and why. That’s a shameful misuse of a resource that voters depend on for important information.

Yes, I’m aware that other people in the past have put statements in the Voters’ Pamphlet on both Yes and No sides, but this is the first instance I can think of where a ballot measure campaign has used this tactic to intentionally misrepresent who they are to voters.

This is deeply disappointing, and Oregon voters deserve better than this. If we are going to dramatically change our elections system, we need a fair and honest debate. These fake arguments and websites are designed to deceive and it should not be rewarded.

If the backers of Measure 90 think they have good answers to the many real criticisms presented by opponents of the measure, let’s hear ‘em. But these phony, malicious tactics undermine the seriousness of the measure’s impacts and really only show that the Yes side apparently feels they can’t win in an honest debate.

Find out more about the campaign to oppose Measure 90.

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