Campaigning & Voting "the Oregon Way"

By Barbara Roberts of Portland, Oregon. Barbara was Oregon's first woman governor, serving from 1991-1995. She previously served as Oregon's Secretary of State, from 1985-1991.

Oregon proudly pioneered the initiative system so citizens could bring ideas directly to the ballot. The intent was for voters to have an actual debate about a proposed policy issue and then vote up or down on whether they thought it was good or bad for Oregon and her people.

Today, major initiative changes to our election law need factual and thorough consideration. And our voters deserve information, honesty, and respect.

And yet, instead of engaging in a real debate and answering arguments against Measure 90, its backers decided to make up phony arguments and a phony website, pretending those opinions came from "No on 90" Oregonians. They even paid to insert misleading pages in the Oregon Voters Pamphlet. They called the pages "satire." I call them unacceptable misrepresentation. This isn't the way we do things in Oregon.

Under current Oregon election laws, when we get our fall ballots, there's a wide diversity of parties and candidates to choose from. No matter where you fit on the political spectrum, our elections are designed to make sure you can find a candidate who fits your values.

Measure 90 dismantles our entire elections system and replaces it with one where voters would only be able to choose between two candidates in the general election-which is when choice and participation matter most.

Measure 90 silences all but two voices in every general election race. In many races, the "top two" candidates could be from just one political party-leaving voters with little choice.

The states of California and Washington have "top two" primary election systems that have failed to live up to their backers' promises.

Measure 90 is a complex proposal that would cause campaigns to start earlier, could double election costs, increase big money's influence, and discourage voter participation. It's no wonder 66% of Oregon voters rejected a very similar ballot measure in 2008.

Say "No" to misuse of our voters pamphlet; say "No" to phony websites; say "No" to copying California's new election system. Say "No" to political games and less choice for Oregon voters. Don't be fooled!

I'm counting on Oregon voters to join the growing coalition of groups and community leaders who'll vote No on Measure 90. It is not an Oregon answer.

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