Tuesday, April 24, 2018

OR Ripe for Open Primaries

For the second Primary Season in a row, the Independent Party of Oregon will Open its Primary Election to Nonaffiliated Voters.

That’s good news, though it might be better if the Independents, Republicans, and Democrats all agreed they could benefit from a form of Open Primaries, like Nonpartisan Top-Two.

Oregonians have declined to follow the examples set by Washington and California. Both have switched to a Top-Two system within the last decade. Under it, Republicans, Democrats, and everyone else run on a Single Ballot. The Top-Two Vote-Getters, no matter what their Party Affiliation, move on to the General Election.

I would rather see a Top-Three.

Oregon Voters soundly trounced a Top-Two Proposal when they rejected Ballot Measure 90 by a nearly 2-to-1 Margin in 2014.

The Two Major Parties could, however, each decide to Open their Primary Elections. Republicans did so, at least partially, when they Opened their 2012 Primary Election to Nonaffiliated Voters. Democrats have not attempted it.

Top-Two Open Primaries carry with them a Potential Change that would be good for Oregon. For one thing, they’d give more than Half of Voters currently Registered here as Nonaffiliated or in Minor Parties a say in who will actually appear on the General-Election Ballot.

As is also true across the Country, Oregon’s Democrats and Republicans can pull toward the extremes. Often, only the Candidates who can Win over Voters on the Margins of their Parties have a serious chance of Winning a Primary Election. While that might provide clear Ideological choices come November, it doesn’t necessarily make for Good Government. Lawmakers who are willing to agree to the sorts of Compromises that allow the State Legislature to get more done could make Oregon a better place for all to Live In.

As good as Top-Two Open Primaries or Open primaries might be, Voters can still act as if the Primaries are Open. It’s easy to Switch Affiliations temporarily in Oregon. And this year, the Independent Party also offer Voters an Open Door. It’s better than nothing.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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