Measure 55

Jeff Alworth

Title: Changes operative date of redistricting plans; allows affected legislators to finish term in original district. 
Sponsor: Oregon Legislature
Type: Constitutional
What it Does: Allows legislators to finish their term after redistricting in the district to which they were elected.
What it Costs: $0

Every ten years, the US Census does an exhaustive report on its citizens, and state legislators rejigger their districts to accommodate population changes.  Problem is, it can leave some legislators to represent districts wholly alien to them--exactly what happened to Rep. Phil Barnhart in 2002.  Elected to an urban South Eugene district, he suddenly found himself representing a large rural area of Central Oregon.  As a result, he found himself trying to meet the needs of constituents whose issues and needs were unknown to him; the constituents were likewise uneasy about this new Eugene legislator's ability to meet those needs.  A bad situation for everyone.

This measure merely delays the date the new districts come into being so that legislators continue to represent citizens in the districts that elected them.  If this constitutional amendment is passed, new districts will become effective after the general election.  It was referred nearly unanimously by the state legislature, and it should be passed by a similarly broad margin among voters.


  • Steve Bucknum (unverified)

    Yep, Phil was my Representative for awhile. I'm sure I enjoyed that much more than he did. I have never understood how that happened, as the area in Eugene where he lives was not ever a part of my District. - not before, and not after.

    Measure 55 is a common sense house keeping issue, the type that Oregon voters pretty much routinely pass. Yet, I always wonder about those 25 to 35% that seem to vote no on everything but a tax cut. Makes you wonder if they actually read the ballots.

  • Gene Nelson (unverified)

    I urge a NO vote on measure 55. Not only are Jeff's claims wrong, this measure will drastically affect homeless and take away womens option for abortions.

  • (Show?)

    Umm, Gene, what are you talking about?

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)

    Note to Gene: When posting, it would be helpful if you gave backup in the form of stats, website links, etc for your statements. It would also be helpful if you explained just what the hell you were talking about....try again?

  • Admiral Naismith (unverified)

    But Gene, that's what you've said about EVERY ballot measure for the past six years!

    Are you sure you don't just want attention?

  • (Show?)

    Jeff, I'm glad you gave the Phil Barnhart example because otherwise I would not have understood what this meant.

    Am I wrong in thinking that what this really means is that redistricting becomes operative at the point of the election subsequent to redistricting decisions?

    Putting it in terms of individual reps is confusing to me, personally, but maybe I'm in the minority on that.

  • Pedro (unverified)

    @Gene - I get your little joke. Not really funny though.

    Jeff - Thanks for the series on the ballot measures. I can't wait until we get to Phil Kiesling's "Top Two" initiative.

  • Steve (unverified)

    I would have to say NO on 55.

    55 turns the representative process on its head. It says that we delay implementation of proportional, constitutionally mandated representation because of the relative comeptence or incompetence of an elected legislator's ability to 'understand' a district's issues.

    By insisting that a representative 'keeps' a district that is no longer a district at all, Proposition 55 is essentially saying that we don't want to represent the districts of today, we want to represent some district of yore. We go through the process of reapportionment so our system reflects the demographics of our population now. By delaying that, we are ignoring the legitimate representation of the current districts.

    <h2>Sorry if that is inconvenient for our representatives...perhpas they can get on their horse and go to the district and find out what people want and care about....</h2>

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