Obama Gets Top Billing On Oregon Ballot
President Barack Obama will get his name listed first among the six presidential candidates on this year's Oregon ballot. It isn't because he's the incumbent. By Oregon law, the Secretary of State's office conducts a "random ordering" of the alphabet prior to each election, and uses that order to determine the order in which the candidates are listed.This year, the first letter chosen was "E." There's no one running for president with a last name starting with "E." The second letter selected was "O." That puts President Obama at the top of the list. As for Republican nominee Mitt Romney, he's number 5 on the list: Romney will follow Obama, the Green Party's Jill Stein, the Progressive Party's Rocky Anderson, and Libertarian Gary Johnson. Following Romney on the list will be Will Christensen of the Constitution Party.Of course, it's unlikely many voters will sit down with their ballot and have zero familiarity with either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. So the ordering of their names will likely have little effect on their vote totals. But what about races further down the ballot? A few years ago, NPR interviewed a Stanford professor who concluded that being listed first on the ballot could boost a candidate's totals by as much as two percent. Whether that's true in Oregon is debatable, since vote-by-mail gives people a little more time to consider their options.Interestingly, the two major candidates for Oregon Secretary of State this year both have last names starting with "B": Incumbent Democrat Kate Brown and Republican challenger Knute Buehler. In that case, the order of names is determined by the placement of the second letter of the last name in the random alphabet. Brown "wins" this contest because "R" is higher than "U" in this year's random alphabet. However, both Brown and Buehler's names will appear below three minor-party candidates.To view this year's random alphabet, click here.
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Sept. 04, 2012
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