Oregon Open Primary Initiative (2014)

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Oregon Open Primary Initiative
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Type:Initiated state statute
Referred by:Citizens
Topic:Elections and campaigns
Status:On the ballot
The Oregon Open Primary Initiative is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute. The measure, if approved, would create a top-two system of general election voting where the primary ballot allows voters to choose one candidate from all candidates, regardless of political party. The top two candidates, regardless of political party, would then be voted upon in the general election.[1][2]

Competing initiative

A similar initiative, the Oregon Unified Primary Elections Initiative (2014) was circulating petitions for the 2014 ballot, as well. That measure would have also created a top-two system, but it would also have allowed for voters to vote for more than one candidate in the primary election. However, supporters did not submit signatures by the deadline to place the measure on the ballot.

Text of measure

Ballot title

The certified ballot title for this initiative is:[2]

Changes general election nomination processes: provides for single primary ballot listing candidates; top two advance[3]



  • Every Oregon Voter Counts Petition Committee
  • James Kelly, chief petitioner

Media editorial positions

2014 measures
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November 4
Education Fund
Judge Hiring
Equal Rights
Alternative Licenses
Open Primary Initiative
Local measures
See also: Endorsements of Oregon ballot measures, 2014


  • The Herald and News supported the measure before its approval for the ballot, saying,
Success in gathering the signatures will put the matter before the voters, which is where it belongs. Right now, Oregon voters are voting with their feet by “walking away” from the established parties, but without a change in the election system that turns over control of much of Oregon’s political processes to a narrowly focused minority because that’s who the current process favors.[3]

—Forum Editor Pat Bushey, [4]

  • The Mail Tribune said, following the submission of signatures to place the measure on the ballot,
The strongest argument is that unaffiliated voters — independents with a small "i" — may not vote in partisan primaries. That's a huge chunk of the electorate shut out of determining who will appear on the ballot in November. [...] The open primary could result in a general election contest between two Republicans or two Democrats. That would actually be a good thing, because in a largely one-party district, the minority party candidate would have little or no chance anyway, and two candidates from a single party would at least give voters a choice in November — and that would tend to keep incumbents in "safe" seats on their toes.[3]

—The Mail Tribune, [5]

  • The Corvallis Gazette-Times said,
In theory at least, the candidates who wanted to emerge from the primary would be forced to appeal to the broadest possible bloc of voters. No more appeals by candidates to narrow interests, either ultra-conservative or hyper-liberal. No more shifting positions after the primary in order to appeal to a broader section of the electorate — a common occurrence, as candidates often must appeal to the fringes in a primary and then attempt to tack to the center in the general election. The ultimate result could be fewer partisan divisions in the Legislature and other elected bodies and winning candidates more inclined to search for common ground.[3]

—Corvallis Gazette-Times, [6]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Oregon

In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters are required to collect a minimum of 87,213 valid signatures by July 3, 2014. The proposed initiative was filed on January 28, 2014 and approved for petition circulation on May 15, 2014.[2]

On June 23, 2014, supporters announced they had submitted 140,045 signatures to the secretary of state's office.[7] On July 15, 2014, the measure was certified for the November ballot with 91,716 valid signatures.[8]

Similar measures

See also

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Additional reading


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