"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

The unlocking

Election nights are always a little fun (at least, for those of us watching): An unveiling of what actually happens. And it happens, you might say (metaphorically), as elections officials unlock the ballot boxes.

Tomorrow night will be something like that for Oregon’s Independent Party. Member of the party have been voting, electronically – will this become commonplace in government-run elections in years to come? – and that phase will wrap up tomorrow at 5 p.m. Members get to choose which candidates should receive the party’s endorsement, and there are a lot of candidates to choose from. And a good many Independent members, probably over 50,000. It may be enough to matter in close races.

In an e-mail release, the party reports:

“We expect to have representatives of the Secretary of State and of several county elections offices present at the unlocking,” said party chair Linda Williams. “The press is also welcome to observe this conclusion of the first online election in Oregon history.”

The outcomes for most of the 60 races for public office (Governor, U.S. Representative, State Senator, and State Representative) will be immediately apparent. The outcomes for some races, however, may depend upon reading and tallying the write-in votes.

The Independent Party is conducting the first-ever Oregon minor party primary election open to every member of the party and the first-ever party election conducted through internet voting. This election includes 86 candidates seeking the Independent Party nomination for 60 different offices.

We’ll keep watch.

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