Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Oregon's Measure 90: The Open Primary

This measure, on November's ballot  in Oregon, would allow everybody to receive the same ballot in primary elections, and the top two would then go on to face each other in the general election. It is on the ballot as the result of a citizen's initiative, and is a rarity among citizen's initiatives in that the purpose is not to further the private goals of some special interest group, but rather, to make the election process more fair and democratic for all.

The current system is responsible for the paralysis we have in government today, especially at the federal level. Under the current system, candidates in the primaries feel the need to appeal to the party's base, which often means the extremes in the party. The moderate Republicans who have been ousted in the primary by Tea Party radicals is a good example of what can happen under closed primary systems.

The major two parties will undoubtedly lose some power under this system, so they tend to oppose the open primary. But citizens who yearn for good government should support this common-sense reform.

It should be noted that Washington and California already are successfully using this system, so Oregon is a bit behind its neighbors on this issue.

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