A Thick Voters Pamphlet

Oregon voters may only have two measures on the ballot this November, but the voters pamphlet isn't exactly light reading. This years pamphlet features 175 arguments for and against Measures 49 and 50, including a record 117 statements regarding Measure 49.

From the Statesman-Journal:

The Voters' Pamphlet that will be mailed to Oregon homes next month includes more than 90 pages of persuasion, including a record-breaking number of arguments about Measure 49.

The pamphlet includes 69 arguments in favor of the proposal that would revise a property-rights law approved by voters three years ago. Another 48 people submitted arguments against it.

The 117 arguments smashed the previous record of 83 arguments about a proposal, according to records dating to 1992. That record, not surprisingly, was for opinions regarding Measure 37, the same property-rights law that would be altered by this year's measure.

"Measure 49 is certainly the most arguments we've ever received on a measure," said Tami Dettwyler of the state Elections Division.

The statements for the two measures have far outstripped previous voter pamplets:

Supporters and opponents of ballot measures have to pay $500 to include their thoughts in the pamphlet, so the opinions about measures 49 and 50 cost $87,500. Arguments are limited to 325 words or less.

Other measures that sparked large numbers of published arguments in the past included a proposed income tax surcharge in February 2004, which had 75 arguments. And in 2004, Oregonians felt strongly enough to pay for 68 arguments regarding Measure 36, which specified that marriage is between a man and a woman.

The 175 arguments about this year's two measures is almost as many as the 196 arguments for all 12 of the measures on the November 2002 ballot.

The state plans to have this year's pamphlet delivered before the middle of October.

Read the rest. Oregon voters have a lot of reading to do. How much will the 175 arguments affect the outcome for the two measures?


  • DD877 (unverified)

    If It Raises Taxes Caters to the Homosexual agenda or puts one farthing into The Mass Transit tax I will vote not only NO but HELL NO

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    I tell you what, if there was anything to scare off a new voter, it was the pamphlets for the general election in 2000.

    We'd moved here in the summer of 2000, so we voted in the Texas primary.

    Then some weeks before the election, a pamphlet arrived. Then another one. And then another. In total there were three - two volumes for the ballot measures and one for the candidates. It was a bit daunting for someone new to elections here in Oregon. I was all worried about writing out a cheat sheet when I found out that we'd be getting our ballots at home. I was quite relieved.

  • LiberalIncarnate (unverified)

    "Attention... attention....homosexual agenda is calling a MR DD877... you're bathroom stall is ready for you Senator."

  • Tyrone Reitman (unverified)

    The arguments serve a useful purpose in identifying who's in support of what measure on the ballot. In the same breath, at $500 a pop, that's pretty cheap paid advertising (assuming none of the sponsors opted to gather 1000 signatures rather than pay the fee). Too bad there's now way to confirm the factual accuracy of the arguments.

    However, in regards to "How much will the 175 arguments affect the outcome for the two measures?", not nearly as much as the ballot titles.

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    Anyone who uses the term "the Homosexual agenda" with a straight face (pun noted) amounts to short-hand for "I am a raging moron".

    So since you are so hip to inside skinny on this nefarious homosexual agenda, do you mind telling us regular folks (i.e. people not obsessed with what gay and bi people) what exactly that agenda is?

  • Travis Diskin (unverified)

    Too bad there's now way to confirm the factual accuracy of the arguments.

    if only someone could create a system of review for initiatives that the people could trust to be fair and balanced.....

  • East Bank Thom (unverified)

    homosexuals? ... catering? ... DD877, wha??

    Oh, and Jenni. Not to despair. The Oregon Voters Pamphlet is not meant for any single citizen to tackle alone. We like to gather up at least a half-dozen friends and meet at a local public house. 'Course the 2000 election was a 5 pint evening.

    [Dinsclamjer: I occidintly vorted frr Bush und theer by thru the ellection,,,]

  • Already Decided (unverified)

    I won't be wasting any of my time reading any of those arguments either in Favor or Opposed.

    Just vote Yes on 49 and Yes on 50.

  • jak (unverified)

    THIS JUST IN FROM HOMOSEXUAL HEADQUARTERS: New toaster ovens will be issued to anyone who can convert 20 heterosexuals to homosexuals, at 30 converts ruby slipppers will be issued.

  • Tyrone Reitman (unverified)

    To review ballot measures we've been proposing the Citizens' Initiative Review over at Healthy Democracy Oregon. Using citizen deliberation to evaluate policy is one way to provide voters with a source of in-depth and trustworthy information on political decisions.

    With the Voters' Pamphlet as it is now, the arguments are not much more than a list of endorsements. There's a lot of quality information mixed in, but who's to say what's truthful and what's not. Studies show that voters turn to the arguments to simply assess who is on what side. The arguments could probably be cut down to 25 words and serve the same purpose. Granted, that wouldn't be a very popular idea, but it would certainly save on the cost and produce a simpler VP in the process. What else could be done to improve the arguments in the VP?

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    Posted by: jak | Sep 26, 2007 5:29:14 PM THIS JUST IN FROM HOMOSEXUAL HEADQUARTERS: New toaster ovens will be issued to anyone who can convert 20 heterosexuals to homosexuals, at 30 converts ruby slipppers will be issued.

    I hear you have to convert twice as many heterosexuals into bisexual if you want the toaster oven or slippers.

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    This just in...the Homosexual Agenda

    1)Grow up without fear of being ridiculed, beaten or killed for being who we are...and be able to raise our kids in the same safe manner

    2)Be secure in the knowledge that should we meet someone interesting, that we will not be turned away, mocked or insulted while we are trying to make that all-important first date impression

    3)Have the knoledge that should we be lucky enough to find someone to share our lives with, that we will be allowed to do so, with the same benefits and priviledges of everyone else

    4)Get up in the morning, maybe even in our own house, get dressed, have breakfast and go to a job knowing that this won't be the day we get fired for existing

    5)Come home at the end of the day, enjoy our families, look forward to our futures, go to sleep, and get up the next day, ready to enjoy the blessings that we have.

    There it is...the all-powerful, sinister homosexual agenda in a nutshell

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    Yea, it definitely helps to go through the book in groups, I'm sure. My husband and I usually work our way through it together.

    There was no worry of me missing the election because I was scared off - I think I've only missed 2 elections since turning 18. One was a minor one in Texas that I couldn't get to the polls for because of work and school (each felt the other should have to be the one to let me go) and one was here in Oregon when my husband forgot to drop off the ballots. Ever since then I've dropped them off myself.

    I just know big pamphlets like that can really scare away voters, especially those new to our system. Which is a good reason to keep an eye out for new neighbors - when you welcome them and make sure they've updated their registration, you can find out if they're from out of state. If so, you can prepare them for the VBM ballot and the pamphlets. And you can invite them to your get together to go through the pamphlet.

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    Thank God for vote by mail. At least I can sit in the comfort of my living room and vote--rather than hand-trucking the Voter's Pamphlet to a polling place.

    Just sayin'.

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    I love VBM, although I do miss working the polls.

    It's just a lot to handle when you're new to the system. When I worked at Mult Co Elections in 2004, I walked a lot of people who were new to the state through the process. It was a lot of help to them.

  • Elliot Shuford (unverified)

    Already Decided: How did you inform so fully inform yourself on M49&M50? Those high-quality, nuanced arguments haven't even been published yet.

    For M49, I haven't been won over by the TV ads with farmers reading cue cards. Nor by the contemplative, "save it or pave it" yard signs, which frankly I find almost offensive- they seem to suggest that if I plan to read the measure and actually consider it before voting, I might as well consider paving my uncle's filbert orchard. Of course, the wolf in sheep's clothing crap (anti-49) doesn't exactly present a case, either. It's as if you vote for M49 and the government is going to seize your house and terrorize your kids. Now that's quality debate.

    Seriously though- anyone know where one might find some quality, reasoned debate about M49 or M50? The arguments sure won't support that, but I believe it's a critical function in a democracy.

    In terms of improving the arguments- why not get rid of them and just have a list of paid endorsements for both sides? The function of telling who's on what side is fulfilled (so don't worry, Already Decided) and the state will save millions. OTOH- we'd lose all those joke arguments. That would be indeed be a loss.....

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    The League of Women Voters puts out a nonpartisan voter's pamphlet that is now available online.


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    What a god aweful waste of paper. When I was registered in Mult Co (I'm now registered in Jackson) and voting overseas they didn't automatically ship the voters pamphlet to us, but provided all the info online.

    I agree with you Jenny, it definately is scary if your a new voter (or younger voter) having all that stuff to look through. I've always enjoyed browsing through some of the insane arguements in the voter's pamphlet myself.

    Most of the time I don't pay attention to the arguements (seriously, but I may read through them for a good laugh or two) unless it's something I'm on the fence about. Most of the time by the time the "guidebook" comes out, I've made up my mind on most everything.

  • Elliot Shuford (unverified)

    Oregon37- thank you-

    Already Decided- it was more fun to write that comment than read that the league's voter guide was already out and eat some of those words- my apologies for the snarky comment. I guess the campaign ads get me a little worked up

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    I hear that homosexuals will be able to ride the new lightrail being built on a paved-over filbert grove for only a farthing. Yes, HELL YES.

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    Yeah, I used to be against increasing the per-argument fee to $1000, but now I'm for it. It's information overload right now.

    Remember when it only cost $300? Or when it was only a farthing for those who could show their mass transit pass or love of Broadway musicals?

  • John Wood (unverified)

    There are only about 7500 Measure 37 claims. Some are by corporations that have as many as 200 claims, so it is reasonable to estimate there are 5500 or 6000 smaller claimants. Claimants are the only people who have anything to gain from Measure 49 failing to pass, because if it does not, they will have until they die to do Anything They Want to their land without regard to land use laws or the effect on the neighbors. Corporations never die and they own vast tracts of Oregon, so they are paying for the campaign on TV and radio. Little people DO die, so they are better served by passing M49 to allow their heirs to add a few houses at a later date. Everybody wins except a very small number of Huge Companies. Hope that helps.

  • Already Decided (unverified)

    For Elliot:

    Sorry to be slow in replying.

    There is really no chance of voting no on either issue for any reasonable person.

    Measure 37 has been a absolute disaster for saving the quality of life we enjoy in here Oregon which is due in part to excellent land use planning laws dating back to Governor Tom McCall. Measure 49 reverses only the worst parts of measure 37. In my opinion measure 49 doesn't go far enough.

    Measure 50 rolls back some of the mean spirited budget cuts that brought to us by Karen Minis and her greedy Republican crew. It also has the benefit of providing additional motivation for some of our fellow citizens who are trying to break the pattern of addiction being peddled by BIG TOBACCO.

    These two issues are very easy to decide on without reading the partisan debate in the voters pamphlet.

    I did use the voters pamphlet as well as many other sources to try and decipher the real meaning and impact of the four City of Portland measures on the ballot last May. These issues are pretty cut and dried for life long blue Oregonian.

    Best to you,

    <h2>A. Decided</h2>
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