Measure 65 FAQ

The following information was originally published in the
Oregon Voters’ Pamphlet for the 2008 general election.

The Facts about Measure 65

1. Is Measure 65 the same as Washington State’s “Open Primary” Law?
It’s similar, but better. As in Washington, everyone – Democrats, Independents, Republicans – would be able to vote in all primary and general elections. That’s good. But it’s better than Washington’s law because it provides a way for parties to endorse candidates.

2. Does it threaten minor parties’ existence?
No. Minor parties will have an equal role in all elections. In order to qualify for the ballot, minor parties will need about 10,000 registrants, but that’s not a bad thing. Requiring some number of supporters is a fair way to prevent ballot clutter. Most minor parties already meet this threshold, and the rest will find it easier to recruit members under Measure 65 (since voters will not need to give up a strategic advantage to register with a minor party).

3. Measure 65 will also allow cross-endorsement. Is this a good thing?
We think so. The Oregon Independent and Working Families parties recently brought an unsuccessful lawsuit seeking the right to cross-endorse, meaning a candidate could run as Democrat-Working Families or Republican-Independent. This provides valuable information to voters about who stands for what. Measure 65 would establish cross-endorsement as the law in Oregon.

4. Will Measure 65 confuse the voters?
No. It actually provides more information to voters by telling them which parties support which candidates. Oregon voters are among the nation’s savviest. They will appreciate having more information about who stands for what.

5. The Democrats and Republicans oppose it. Why?
Change is always unnerving. Plus it means that state taxpayers will no longer pay for “closed” party primaries. It will require the parties to establish a new method for endorsing candidates.

6. Is it good for Democracy?
Yes. It allows all voters to participate in primary elections, provides more information to voters, and allows minor parties to play a more constructive role. One danger is that the Open Primary can give an advantage to the richest candidate, so this is only a first step. We also need solid campaign finance reform that limits the power of big money in politics.