Oregonians could dramatically alter the way they choose candidates if a ballot initiative to open the state’s primary elections passes in November. The open or top-two primary initiative qualified Tuesday for the November ballot with 91,716 valid signatures, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The measure would create a new, nonpartisan primary election process where candidates from all parties appear on a single ballot. The two candidates who received the most votes in that election would advance to a general election. “We are very happy; excited,” chief petitioner James Kelly said. “We’ve been waiting a long time.” Washington and California both have open primaries, but Oregon voters overwhelmingly rejected a similar measure in 2008.
Supporters of the measure point to the rising number of Oregonians who choose not to register as a Republican or Democrat as a sign the mood is shifting. Nearly one-third of the state’s voters currently belong to a minor party or have no party affiliation.
“The other intention is that we have so few races that are in play in our state legislature because we have districts that are heavily dominated by one party or another,” Kelly said. “You have races that are decided by fewer than seven percent of the voters.”
Allowing all registered voters from a district to be involved in selecting the general election candidates is one of the strongest arguments for the initiative, said Edwin Dover, a political science professor at Western Oregon University.
Full Article: Open primary initiative qualifies for November ballot.