Oregon Open Primary Initiative, Measure 90 (2014)

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Measure 90
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Type:Initiated state statute
Referred by:Citizens
Topic:Elections and campaigns
Status:On the ballot
2014 measures
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November 4
Meausre 86
Measure 87
Measure 88
Measure 89
Measure 90
Measure 91
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Local measures
The Oregon Open Primary, Measure 90 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]

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]


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.






  • James Kelly, chief petitioner
  • Steve Hughes, state director of Oregon's Working Families Party


Steve Hughes, state director of Oregon's Working Families Party, expressed the party's support for this initiative as a way to empower more smaller political parties' participation. He further described the party's stance, saying,

[We] believe this proposal not only protects but enhances our ability to participate meaningfully in selecting who will govern our state, and what issues they will elevate in their governance. Unlike the measures that have passed in California and Washington, this version of Top Two maintains the integrity of the role for political parties by permitting party endorsements to appear on the ballot. It also enhances fusion voting, allowing multiple party endorsements, to give voters more information about what a particular candidate stands for. And, of course, it opens the door for WFP members and all others who are not registered as either a Democrat or a Republican to cast votes in the primary races that decide so much of who governs this state.[3]

—Steve Hughes, [6]

Dan Meek, attorney who often represents minor political parties, expressed the opposition of the Oregon Progressive Party:

The top two primary is a very bad idea. Oregon voters recognized that when they defeated the same measure in 2008 (Measure 65) by an overwhelming vote of 66-34%. Top-two blanket primaries are intended to make political party labels meaningless, thus depriving voters of the most important single piece of information that most voters rely upon in making their decisions on candidates. They also allow complete strangers to hijack the names of all parties on the ballot, including minor parties (which Measure 90 actually destroys, thus reducing the choices available on all ballots). The "new" measure is 99.9% the same as Measure 65 of 2008 (and is exactly the same in all meaningful respects), the information at http://saveoregonsdemocracy.org is very relevant, particularly http://saveoregonsdemocracy.org/danmeek.html.[3]

—Dan Meek, [7]

Campaign contributions

Total campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $608,830.00
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $0.00

Every Oregon Voter Counts was registered as the petition committee for this initiative.[8] Vote Yes on 90 is a political action committee (PAC) registered to support the initiative, as well. The following totals include contributions and expenditures reported up to July 30, 2014.[9]

PAC info:

PAC Amount raised Amount spent
Vote Yes on 90 $0.00 $0.00
Every Oregon Voter Counts Petition Committee $608,830.00 $509,833.96
Total $608,830.00 $509,833.96

Contributors of $25,000 or more:

Donor Amount
James Kelley $100,000
Brett Wilcox $100,000
Austin Dental Equipment Company (A-DEC) $50,000
The Pape Group $50,000
Roseburg Forest Products $25,000
Tim Boyle $25,000
Cambia Health Solutions $25,000
The Standard $25,000
John E Von Schlegell $25,000



Citizens' Initiative Review

In a vote on August 20, 2014, the Citizens' Initiative Review Commission voted 14-5 in opposition to Measure 90. The panel found that Measure 90 "limits the voice of minority voters, minor parties, and grassroots campaigns. A diverse electorate needs choice & diversity in the General Election."[10]


  • Protect Out Vote[11]
  • Oregon Progressive Party[12]
  • Oregon State Fire Fighters Council[11]
  • Oregon Nurses Association[11]
  • Oregon Education Association[11]
  • The Free and Equal Elections Foundation[11]
  • Democratic Party of Oregon[11]
  • Oregon Republican Party Executive Committee[11]
  • Pacific Green Party[11]
  • Oregon Progressive Party[11]
  • Ballot Access News[11]
  • PCUN (Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste)[11]
  • SEIU Local 503[11]
  • SEIU Local 49[11]
  • UFCW Local 555[11]
  • Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters[11]
  • AFSCME Council 75[11]
  • Our Oregon[11]
  • Economic Fairness Oregon[11]
  • Joint Council of Teamsters #37[11]
  • Oregon School Employees Association[11]
  • Eugene / Springfield Solidarity Network / Jobs With Justice[11]


  • Rep. David Gomberg[11]
  • Rep. Phil Barnhart[11]
  • Rep. Val Hoyle[11]
  • Rep. Brad Witt[11]
  • Rep. Margaret Doherty[11]
  • Rep. Jennifer Williamson[11]
  • Rep. Ben Unger[11]
  • Rep. Rob Nosse[11]
  • Rep. Jessica Vega Pederson[11]
  • Sen. Diane Rosenbaum[11]
  • Sen. Chip Shields[11]
  • Sen. Michael Dembrow[11]
  • Greg Leo, former Executive Director of the Oregon Republican Party[11]
  • Bill Currier, Vice Chairman, Oregon Republican Party[11]
  • Hon. Bill Bradbury, Former Oregon Secretary of State[11]

Campaign contributions

Protect Our Vote registered as an opposing political action committee (PAC) for this measure on July 25, 2014. As of July 30, they had not submitted any campaign finance reports.[13]

PAC info:

PAC Amount raised Amount spent
Protect Our Vote $0.00 $0.00
Total $0.00 $0.00

Media editorial positions

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, [14]

  • 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, [15]

  • 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, [16]


  • The Oregonian, reported that,
The panel's (Oregon Citizens Initiative Review Panel) majority concluded that the measure would limit choice in the general election because there would only be two candidates -- and they could potentially be from the same party. The majority also expressed concern over language in the measure that could endanger the legal status of minor parties and that could allow candidates who get over 50 percent in a primary to avoid a general election."[3]

—Jeff Mapes, [17]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Oregon

In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters were 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.[18] On July 15, 2014, the measure was certified for the November ballot with 91,716 valid signatures.[19]

Similar measures

See also

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News stories

External links

Additional reading


  1. Ballot Access News, "Two Rival Top-Two Initiatives are Circulating in Oregon," May 15, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Oregon Secretary of State, "Detailed display of initiative 55," accessed May 26, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  4. KGW, "Kitzhaber, Richardson share stage in first debate," July 18, 2014
  5. The Oregonian, "Working Families Party endorses top-two primary initiative on Oregon ballot," July 25, 2014
  6. Blue Oregon, "Why the Working Families Party is supporting the Oregon Open Primary ballot measure," July 30, 2014
  7. Independent Political Report, "Top-Two Initiative Qualifies for Oregon 2014 Ballot," July 16, 2014
  8. Oregon Secretary of State, "Statement of Organization for Petition Committee ID: 16892," accessed July 30, 2014
  9. Oregon Secretary of State, "Statement of Organization for Political Action Committee ID: 17001," accessed July 30, 2014
  10. HealthyDemocracy.org, "CITIZENS' INITIATIVE REVIEW REVIEW OF MEASURE 90," accessed August 21, 2014
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 11.14 11.15 11.16 11.17 11.18 11.19 11.20 11.21 11.22 11.23 11.24 11.25 11.26 11.27 11.28 11.29 11.30 11.31 11.32 11.33 11.34 11.35 NoonMeasure90.org, "The Coalition," accessed August 21, 2014
  12. Progressive Party, "Party Endorses Some Oregon Ballot Measures, Opposes Others," accessed August 21, 2014
  13. Oregon Secretary of State, "Statement of Organization for Political Action Committee ID: 17013," accessed July 30, 2014
  14. Herald and News, "The H&N View: Let voters decide how tight partisan ties should be," June 24, 2014
  15. The Mail Tribune, "Our Opinion: Open wide," June 25, 2014
  16. Corvallis Gazette-Times, "Editorial: Oregon voters should take fresh look at open primaries," July 7, 2014
  17. The Oregonian, "Oregon 'top two' primary proposal gets thumbs down from citizens review panel," accessed August 21, 2014
  18. The Oregonian, "Backers of 'top two' primary initiative submit 140,000 signatures to Oregon secretary of state," June 23, 2014
  19. Statesmen Journal, "Open primary initiative qualifies for November ballot," July 16, 2014