"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.

Open primary for OR Independents?

harris ROBERT


Democracy reform continues to gain momentum. Fixing the process in a way that empowers voters, not donors, is gaining grassroots momentum. Mainstream media is publishing more articles about primary reforms.

But there is one way to have an open primary for all Oregon’s independent voters who were shut out of the State sponsored and paid for elections of our most important offices.

The Independent Party of Oregon is in the midst of preparing for a primary election. With 100,000 members, it’s more than six times larger than any other minor party, and is nearing 5% of total voters. Non affiliated voters, those not registered as belonging to a recognized party, make up about 23% of the electorate. Together i/Independents number almost as many as registered Republicans.

So, perhaps the IPO should open up it’s primary this election to NAV’s. If as Democrats like to claim most IPO members really think they are NAV, then the IPO is almost obligated to open it up. If as the IPO leaders state the party exists to allow non major party candidates a legal roadway to enter the political marketplace, then opening up the election to NAV”s is a logical step now that it has neared major party status.

The reasons it shouldn’t open it’s primary are: A relatively small group of motivated voters could skew the outcomes of some races. I suppose that is correct, and some of those candidates may be fringe rather than centrist, however, that may be the will of the i/Independents in Oregon. But there certainly is a risk that the IPO (Independent Party of Oregon) could end up with several tea party candidates in Southern Oregon, and several very progressive candidates in the Portland area. But, isn’t that the general makeup of the Oregon voter profile geographically?

And of course there is the time and effort involved in running an election without State support. And sometimes even in the face of actual antagonism from our elected officials. Vote security, broadcasting the availability and process, and actual volunteer hours.

They would all be significant challenges. (Perhaps some of the media would partner with the IPO to broadcast the process. I think public service announcements are still required as a condition of licensing.)

It would be a huge lift. But with the right publicity, assistance from key places, and some additional volunteers, it could be done.

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