Oregon Alternative Methods for Electing Officials, Measure 15 (June 1908)

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The Oregon Alternative Methods for Electing Officials Amendment, also known as Measure 15, was on the June 1, 1908 ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute, where it was approved. The measure empowered the state legislature or voters to devise alternative and more inclusive methods of electing public officials to first-past-the-post voting. The measure does not mandate an alternative system, but merely allows for such changes in the future. The text of the measure suggests instant-runoff elections and proportional representation as possible alternatives.[1]

The measure amended Section 16 of Article II of the Oregon Constitution.[2]

Election results

Oregon Measure 15 (1908)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 48,868 58.88%
No34,12841.12%

Election results via: Oregon Blue Book

Text of measure

The language appeared on the ballot as:[1]

The Following Is The Number and Form in Which the Question will be Printed on the Official Ballot:

Proposed by Initiative Petition

For constitutional amendment giving the people power to make laws for election of public officers by majority vote instead of pluralities; to provide that political parties and voters' organizations shall be proportionably represented in all offices filled by the election of two or more persons, and that a voter shall vote for only one person for any office, and may indicate his second, third, etc., choice; and to provide for a simple method of precinct residence and registration. --- Vote YES or NO.

328. Yes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

329. No . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . [3]

Proportional Representation

One method mentioned in the text that would achieve the "election of public officers by majority vote instead of pluralities" is proportional representation. The Morning Oregonian provided the following example to aid voters in understanding the model:[4]

Thus, it is said, that Multnomah County has 12 representatives in the Lower House of the Legislature, and it is contended that any party or organization have one-twelfth of the voters of the county should have the power to select one member of the Multnomah delegation, and as many members as they have twelfths of the voters of the county. Thus, if the Democrats have three-twelfths of the voting strength they should have the power to select three of the representatives from that county. In the same way, any party having one-third of the voting strength of the state would be entitled to elect one of the three Supreme Judges.

[3]

Support

Arguments

  • A minority party is entitled the representation in public office in proposition to the number of votes the party received in an election.[4]

Opposition

Arguments

  • Question 15 would “merely open the way for a number of freak bills” proposed under the initiative.[4]

Path to the ballot

Measure 15 was filed in the office of the Secretary of State on January 30, 1908.[1]

See also

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Suggest a link

External links

References