Momentum Building for Oregon Open Primary

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Campaign gathers qualifying amount of signatures in record time.

Every Oregon Voter Counts Petition Committee announced that it has submitted 140,045 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office for review and validation. The petition committee set a record for the fastest signature gathering effort for ballot qualification in Oregon’s history. The initiative’s sponsors received approval on May 15 to begin gathering signatures and had until July 3 to gather 87,213 valid signatures. 

“We are extremely encouraged by the incredible support that we’ve received across the state. Oregonians are making it clear that they want their voices and votes to count,” said Jim Kelly, the proposed measure’s chief petitioner.

Over 650,000 Oregonians are shut out of the process because of their lack of party affiliation. “With the passage of the proposed measure these and other disenfranchised voters would have an opportunity to fully participate in Oregon’s electoral process,” he added. 

The current primary structure in Oregon is only open to registered party members, which excludes the 31 percent of voters who are not registered Democrats or Republicans. 

The proposed ballot measure would replace Democratic and Republican party primaries with a single primary election open to all voters, regardless of party affiliation, including independents. All candidates for a particular office would be listed on a single ballot and every voter would be able to choose one candidate. The top two vote getters would advance to the general election. This change would give every Oregon voter an equal voice, in every election.

This change in the electoral process would apply to all currently partisan local, state, and congressional races. This includes all 90 Oregon legislative races; 4 statewide offices (Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer and Secretary of State;) U.S. Senate and Congressional elections; and some county elections still held on a partisan basis. Due to federal law, this does not apply to the Presidential primary. 

Washington state and California voters recently approved the use of a similar open primary system that has already shown important signs of starting to replace partisan gridlock with efforts to find commonsense solutions. 


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