Oregon Unified Primary Elections Initiative (2014)

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The Oregon Unified Primary Elections Initiative did not make the November 4, 2014 ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute. The measure would have established a top-two system and also used approval voting in the primary. The primary election would have allowed electors to vote on all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, and for more than one candidate. Then, the two candidates who received the most votes, regardless of party affiliation, would have been placed on the general election ballot. Such systems are often called "top-two systems."[1][2][3]

Competing initiative

A similar initiative, the Oregon Open Primary Initiative (2014), also circulated petitions for the 2014 ballot. That measure would also create a top-two system, but it would not use approval voting at any stage.

Text of measure

Ballot title

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

Changes general election nomination processes: provides single primary ballot; vote one or more; two advance[4]




Unified Primary Initiative argued on their website that two problems with the then-current election process needed to be fixed: the exclusion bug and the sneaky bug. They described the exclusion bug as:

As in many states, only members of the two major parties may participate in the first election, the primary, which excludes right at the outset about a third of the voters. Worse still, because 3/4 of the state's districts provide one party a dominant advantage, 3/4 of our representatives are essentially chosen in the primary and answer only to voters in their own parties. Added together: independents, rural Democrats and urban Republicans - now more than half of the state's voters have no meaningful representative voice.[4]

—Unified Primary Initiative, [5]

The sneaky bug was described as:

Whenever there are more than two candidates in a race, the more similar ones split votes between them, so a winner can be chosen who doesn't represent the majority view, and it only gets worse as more candidates join in. This is commonly known as the "spoiler effect" and is why we are told not to "waste our vote" and "vote for the lesser of two evils" instead. This spoiler bug is what turns the campaign into a name recognition money race and sidelines all independent and minor party candidates.

Put the two bugs together and our elections are ripe for manipulation, silence the majority of us, yield divided, gridlocked governments and turn voting into a game we all lose.[4]

—Unified Primary Initiative, [5]

According to Unified Primary Initiative, this initiative would have fixed these problems by ensuring every voter receives a ballot with all the candidates, regardless of party affiliation, and by allowing them to vote for as many candidates as they wish in the primaries.[5]

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] Ultimately, not enough signatures were collected for this initiative.[6]

Similar measures

See also

Suggest a link

External links


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