Measure 65

Argument in Opposition

Limiting discourse, limiting candidates, limiting choices.

The rallying cry behind the push to change Oregon's primary system is that it will enable all voters to have their voices "heard" in the early stages of an election. But really, no one will be listening.

Instead of expanding the field of choices, Measure 65 will limit it.

Republicans and Democrats would be prevented from fairly determining who they want their nominee to be. In this system, each party would be forced into a game of strategy. Instead of Democrats (or Republicans) in a given district being able to decide whom they like best in a field of 3 or 4, there would be a natural tension and pressure to limit party candidates to no more than 2, and maybe one. The anointed one will be selected long before the voters cast their first ballots, and the selection will be heavily influenced by money, often from outside Oregon borders..

Smaller parties could put forth candidates, but as long as Republican and Democratic Parties exist, smaller parties will NEVER see their candidates advance to the general election

Now, why would a Democratic Party organization be opposed to a system that effectively eliminates 3rd party and non-affiliated candidates from the process? The Multnomah Democrats are composed of folks from all walks of life with a wide range of viewpoints. We believe ALL these viewpoints should have the forum for expression in the primary election, and that primary voters should be enabled to vote for whomever best represents their philosophies.

Measure 65 limits this expression, limits discourse, and limits the choice Oregon voters deserve.

Please, vote NO on Measure 65.

(This information furnished by Carla "KC" Hanson, Multnomah County Democrats.)

Argument in Opposition

The Libertarian Party of Washington County strongly opposes Ballot Measure 65. It is patently unfair, almost certainly unconstitutional, and should be soundly rejected by Oregon voters!

Proponents of this measure use the fair-sounding term "open primary", but actual results will be anything but open! Oregon voters - Democrat, Republican, Libertarian – will lose their right to select candidates of their choice from the party of their choice!

By allowing only the "top two" vote-getters in a primary election to advance to the general election, this measure would effectively eliminate small parties from the ballot in general elections. Although small parties seldom win elections, they frequently offer genuine alternatives to the status quo. Since small party candidates rarely compete in primaries, this measure would dramatically reduce choices available to voters by eliminating these candidates from general elections.

In districts where one party is historically dominant, this measure could have the effect of placing two candidates from the same party on the ballot in the general election. Depending on where you live, would you really want to see only two Democrats or two Republicans on the ballot? What kind of choice is that?

The Bill of Rights of Constitution of the United States wisely prohibits any law "prohibiting the right of the people peaceably to assemble". What is a political party - even a so-called "minor" party – other than a peaceful, politically-oriented assembly? By what right do the proponents of this ballot measure propose to strip valid minor and major party candidates of their right to stand for election in Oregon?

A far better solution to the problems this ballot measure purports to address is term limits, which would have the effect of throwing every voting district "up for grabs" every few years instead of allowing politicians to entrench themselves in office by showering endless pork-barrel projects in their districts with your tax money.

Vote NO on Measure 65.

(This information furnished by David E. Long, Chairman, Libertarian Party of Washington County.)

Argument in Opposition

Measure 65 — This is not just an Open Primary measure.

If Ballot Measure 65 was just about letting independents vote in the primaries, then that would be something to talk about. But that idea is only the "bait" to try and entice people to vote for this measure — the "switch" is that it will make it harder for regular folks to get elected and impossible for third parties to be on the ballot in the general election. We don't need elections that cost more and become the sole domain of rich folks.

Under Measure 65 even if you beat your opponent in the primary election 95 percent to 5 percent, you still have to run against them in the general election. In the present system, the conversation in the primary election between two members of the same party is important and very different than the debate between two folks of a different party that occurs in the fall. Under this proposal that is gone and we have to hear the same rhetoric for an entire year. Don't we want both debates?

The worst part is this: what person that actually works for a living can take off a whole year to run for office? Measure 65 is supported overwhelmingly by rich CEOs. These are people that aren't concerned that elections will be twice as long and cost twice as much. Regular folks that want to be part of the process and run for office don't stand a chance to get elected — it will be only those people that don't have to work for a living that will be able to run for office. That's not the kind of Oregon Legislature that serves everyone.

We need to let everyone have a chance to get elected, not only the rich. Please join us, Oregon AFSCME Council 75 (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) in rejecting this proposal.

Vote NO! on Measure 65.

(This information furnished by Joe Baessler, Oregon AFSCME Council 75.)

Argument in Opposition

Fellow Oregonians.

I strongly urge you to VOTE NO on 65

This is a solution looking for a problem.

It will cause the election season to start earlier, last longer and cost more.

Under this "TOP TWO" primary system, all candidates would appear in a long complicated list on the May primary ballot.

The "Top Two" vote-getters, regardless of what they believe and stand for, would be on the November ballot. In many races, your only choice will be two candidates from the SAME Party!

Under this poorly thought-out system, Democrats could be forced to either vote for a Republican in many races, or not vote at all. Likewise, Republicans could be forced to vote for Democrats. That is not choice and it is not democracy. There is nothing "open" about this proposed scheme.

And for our other parties – the Green Party, Libertarians, Independents, would be effectively forced off Oregon's November ballot.

Oregon's Primary election system has nominated and elected some of our state's most outstanding leaders – of both parties. Tom McCall, Bob Straub, Dave Frohnmayer, Maurine Neuberger, Les AuCoin, Norma Paulus, Jim Hill.

It worked then. It works now.

The claim that this measure will give Oregon more moderate office-holders has no basis in fact. The claim that Measure 65 will magically help legislators play nice together in Salem is nothing more than a campaign tactic.

Once again – this is an invented solution to a non-existent problem. Don't be fooled.

Vote NO on 65.

Governor Barbara Roberts

(This information furnished by Barbara Roberts.)

Argument in Opposition

Join us in Voting No on Measure 65
because it would shut out different voices,
especially women and people of color.

We belong to different parties.
We were elected from different communities all over Oregon.
We have sharply different ideas about what government should do and how to do it.
We think our differences are good for democracy and force the legislature to make better decisions.

While we disagree about many issues, we all agree that Measure 65 would make it much harder for women, people of color, and people with different ideas and different life experience to win elections. We think that would be bad for democracy and bad for Oregon.

Right now, Oregon is 8th best among the states for women's share of legislative seats. The only state with any track record using a Measure 65-type primary (Louisiana) has the 43rd worst proportion of women in its legislature, largely due to the exclusionary effect of the "Top Dogs" primary. Republican and Democrat alike, we don't want to see women and people of color in Oregon lose their influence in important policy and budget decisions.

Please join us in voting NO on Measure 65.

Sen. Margaret Carter (Portland)
Sen. Suzanne Bonamici (Washington County)

Rep. Jean Cowan (Lincoln County)
Rep. Tina Kotek (N/NE Portland)
Rep. Nancy Nathanson (Lane County)
Rep. Mary Nolan (Multnomah County)
Rep. Patti Smith (Hood River, Sandy)
Rep. Carolyn Tomei (Clackamas County)

(This information furnished by Representative Mary Nolan.)

Argument in Opposition

We usually are all on very different sides when it comes to candidates and issues, but there is one thing we can agree on:


Supporters of Measure 65, the "Top Two Primary", believe this measure opens the process to all voters.

The fact is, when only two candidates move forward out of the Primary, VOTERS HAVE FEWER CHOICES in the General, when THE MAJORITY of voters cast their ballot.

This measure closes off our election system.


Under this system all candidates, REGARDLESS of party affiliation, run in a single primary. Even if the two candidates who receive the most votes are from the SAME PARTY they would still both advance to the general election. This means the general election is then CLOSED to ALL other parties and their chosen candidates!

In many corners of our state, this means the top two candidates could in fact be from the same party, eliminating any REAL choice for the voting public.

Since 1990, on average less that 45% of registered voters send in their primary ballots.

Do we really want less than HALF of registered voters to narrow ALL VOTERS' choices?

A 'TOP TWO' primary would effectively OUTLAW third party participation!

Don't let the state elites rig the game! Demand FAIR elections!


Meredith Wood Smith, Chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon
Vance Day, Chair of the Republican Party of Oregon
Joe Tabor, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Oregon
Seth Woolley, Secretary and Co-Chair of the Pacific Green Party of Oregon

(This information furnished by Meredith Wood Smith, Democratic Party of Oregon.)

Argument in Opposition

Vote NO on 65.

A Top Two primary will guarantee that big money will always have a handpicked candidate on the general election ballot.

Top Two primaries force campaigns to start earlier, driving up the costs of campaigns, and pushing qualified candidates to knock on the doors of big money.

This will be an even greater burden on our part-time legislators who have real jobs, too.

Don't be fooled -- a Top Two primary ensures the growth of money's influence on our politics.

Vote No on 65.

Oregonians will lose opportunities to choose if the Top 2 Primary becomes a reality.

Measure 65's so called "open primary" will actually eliminate many qualified candidates. We deserve more than just two choices in the general election.

Don't be fooled -- a Top Two primary leaves us with fewer choices – not more.

Vote No on 65.

Oregon State Senator Ted Ferrioli

(This information furnished by Senator Ted Ferrioli.)

Argument in Opposition

The Oregon State Building
and Construction Trades Council
Asks You To Vote No On Measure 65

Vote No on Measure 65 because the average man or woman won't be able to pursue running for public office! The increased attention on the primary means that campaigns will be forced to start earlier and spend more. It happened in Washington, and it will happen here.

Vote No on Measure 65 because qualified candidates shouldn't have to compromise their beliefs to secure donations in order to run for elected positions. We are the men and women who work hard everyday to make Oregon a great place to live. Our members deserve the right to run for elected office, without having to cozy up to corporate donors.

Vote No on Measure 65 because it will give corporate elites greater control over our state politics. Measure 65 is funded by corporate CEO's who already control too much of our political process.

Vote No on Measure 65 because it limits your choices in the November election to just Two! When the pool of candidates is narrowed by the May primary to just the Top Two candidates, 1/4 of Oregon's registered voters affiliated with third parties lose their voice in the general election.

Vote No on Measure 65 because it is nearly impossible for new candidates to run in those districts traditionally held by one party. Partisan bickering aside, a little competition is actually good. It forces politicians in hard-fought races to form coalitions and listen to their constituents.

Measure 65 means we will lose our voice in
Oregon's electoral system.
Vote No on Measure 65.

Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council
United Association of Plumbers & Steamfitters
Bricklayers Local 1 of Oregon
Ironworkers Local 29
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 112
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 280

(This information furnished by Bob Shiprack, Oregon State Building & Construction Trades Council.)

Argument in Opposition

The Oregon Education Association
Asks You To Vote No On Measure 65

Measure 65 takes away the rights of Oregonians. We represent 48,000 Oregonians working in our public schools and community colleges. Our members come from different backgrounds and belong to every political party. Measure 65 would take away the right of every Oregonian who belongs to a major party to choose their nominee in a primary election. That's unfair.

Vote No on Measure 65.

Measure 65 limits the voice of minor parties. If measure 65 passes, it will take away the rights of minor parties to have their voice heard, and eliminate choices for all voters. As educators, we believe that every voter should have a voice.

Vote No on Measure 65.

Measure 65 will limit the political debate to only two candidates' positions. The general election should be open to candidates of all parties. Win or lose, minor party candidates bring a voice to the table that is unique and deserves to be heard. We don't want to limit voters' choice when it counts the most -- in November

Vote No on 65

Measure 65 will make political campaigns longer and more costly. We all get tired of the seemingly endless cycle of political ads. And the cost of candidate campaigns is outrageous. Measure 65 will only make matters worse. Candidates will have to start running ads earlier and spend more of their time raising money rather than talking directly with voters.

Please join thousands of Oregon public school teachers and me.

Vote NO on Ballot Measure 65.

Larry Wolf, President
Oregon Education Association

(This information furnished by Larry Wolf, Oregon Education Association.)

Argument in Opposition


Measure 65's supporters would have us believe that our primary system doesn't work and is out of date.

But Measure 65 is a solution looking for a problem. At the heart of this complex and poorly written ballot measure is the idea that only the "Top Two" finishers in primary candidate races will compete in the general election--regardless of party affiliation! Oregonians deserve more than just two choices in the general election.

They want to call this proposal an "open primary" system. It's not.

It is a "Top Two" primary. Ask the questions. Get the Facts:

Q: Will A TOP TWO SYSTEM will bring voters more choices?

A: NO! Since the state of Louisiana adopted a TOP TWO primary system a third party candidate has NEVER appeared on a general election ballot!

Q: Will a Top Two primary increase voter turnout?

A: NO! Since adopting a TOP TWO primary system Louisiana ranks near the bottom in voter turnout NATIONALLY!. In 2002, just over one-third of eligible voters showed up for congressional elections!! Not surprising, given that voters had so few choices on the final ballot.

Q: Will a Top Two Primary give voters more power?

A: NO! A Top Two Primary gives even more power for well-funded special interests to influence the outcome of primary and general elections.


A flawed system that will take away the rights of minority parties to have their voices heard.

A so called "open primary" that disenfranchises both voters and qualified candidates.

A system that gives even MORE power to special interests and less power to voters.


Tom Chamberlain, President
Oregon AFL-CIO

(This information furnished by Tom Chamberlain, Oregon AFL-CIO.)

Argument in Opposition

People who work for a living deserve to be
able to run for office.
Measure 65 shuts us out.
VOTE NO on Measure 65

Running for office is already expensive. Measure 65 will increase the time and cost of elections.

Working Oregonians and retirees deserve to have real choices among candidates and the opportunity to run for office. Measure 65 will set the bar higher for candidates of modest means by forcing the cost of primary elections through the roof.

That is why corporate CEOs are kicking in big money to pass the measure.

Grass roots campaigns and a citizen legislature will be a thing of the past. If you like all the campaign ads and all the candidate mail, then you will love Measure 65.

Give candidates who work for a living a chance.
VOTE NO on Measure 65.

Signed by the following leaders of SEIU Local 503:

Barbara Casey, Social Service Specialist, Portland
Rena M. Chapel, Child Welfare, Tigard
Jill Sipes, Human Services Specialist, Klamath Falls
Kurt Kessler, Social Services Hearings Representative, Ashland
Carlie K. Jackson, Eligibility Specialist, DHS, Keizer
Phyllis Wills, Homecare, Hillsboro
Mike Johnson, Accountant, Keizer
Judy Sugnet, Retiree, Salem
Kermit S. Meling, Motor Carrier Enforcement Officer, Estacada
Jenny Garner, Social Service Specialist, The Dalles
Mary L. McGrath, Office Worker, Portland
Saundra Mies-Grantham, Business and Employment Specialist, Newport
Joy'e Willman, Homecare, Portland
B.G. Gray, Homecare, Portland
Lorna Burnell, Homecare, Eugene
Kay Cullen, Homecare, Salem
James Jacobson, Office Specialist, Eugene
Steve Shumate, Homecare, Portland
Bill Kinyoun, Wildlife Biologist, Charleston
Robert Gourley, Retiree, Corvallis
Barney Gorter, Retired Program Technician, Milwaukie
John D. Leppink, Retiree, Beaverton
Marty Olson, Business Analyst, West Linn
Lea Spencer, Auditor, Salem
Mary Wood, Homecare, Lincoln City

(This information furnished by Arthur Towers, Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 503.)

Argument in Opposition

Measure 65 will destroy minor parties in Oregon, reduce voter choices, confuse the ballots, and encourage dirty politicking.

Today, Oregon's six minor parties can provide good alternatives to Democratic and Republican candidates in the November general election. Measure 65 will stop this.

Fewer choices. Measure 65 will abolish the Pacific Green, Constitution, Working Families, and Peace parties by removing their legal basis (getting 1% of the vote in a statewide general election).

Measure 65 is also intended by its sponsors to remove all minor party and citizen-sponsored candidates from the general election ballot, including those supported by tens of thousands of signatures.

More Dirty Tricks. Measure 65 will allow effective ballot sabotage.

Under Measure 65, anyone can register as say, "Republican" and immediately file to run for public office, with "Registered: Republican" next to his name on the ballot, whether or not anyone in the Republican Party knows him (he may be a Nazi, Communist, convicted child molester, etc.)).

Each party will try to reduce the resulting voter confusion by "endorsing" a candidate in each race. This means Measure 65 will replace the major party primaries with backroom "endorsement" deals. It will also force minor parties to "endorse" major party candidates they do not agree with, just to oppose the strangers on the ballot who suddenly claim be "their" candidates.

Primary elections could become a game of "ringers," with political consultants recruiting phony candidates just to split the votes of other parties. Republican consultants could recruit people to register and file as "Democratic" candidates, splitting the Democratic vote and allowing two Republican candidates to win the "top two" primary and proceed to the general election, alone. Democrats could recruit phony "Republicans." Both of them could recruit phony "Independents." Every party in every primary election can be sabotaged this way, under Measure 65.

Expect a confusing ballot, with a dozen or more candidates for each major office who are "Registered" and/or "Endorsed" by the surviving parties.

(This information furnished by Dan Meek.)

Argument in Opposition


Ballot Measure 65 will create what is known as a Top Two election system in Oregon. It is not an open primary. Under Top Two, only two candidates for each race will appear on the ballot in November. Top Two is used only in Louisiana and, recently, in Washington.

Ballot Measure 65 will drastically change Oregon's primary election. All candidates from all parties will compete in the same election in one big free-for-all. There will be no majority vote requirement. Candidates will advance to the general election with the support of a tiny percentage of voters. That's undemocratic. And unfair.


Campaigns are already too long and too expensive. BM 65 will make them even longer and more expensive. Candidates will have to start running earlier and will have to raise and spend more money to reach voters from other parties.


Voters should have more than two choices on Election Day. Freedom of choice is the heart of democracy. Why should our choices be restricted?


Based on research conducted by the nation's leading expert on ballot laws, third party candidates will be virtually eliminated from the November election.


No one in Oregon is ever denied the right to participate in the primary. Any eligible Oregonian can register with a political party 21 days prior to the election.

"Top Two severely restricts voters' choices
for the November election."

Richard Winger, Editor, Ballot Access News

"Top Two is unfair and undemocratic."
Blair Bobier, Programs Director, Civics Education League

"'Top Two' deprives the voters
of a meaningful debate and choice."

Luke Esser, Chair, Republican Party of Washington
OPB Radio, 8/20/08

"'Top Two' limits our democracy
rather than expanding it."

Dwight Pelz, Chair, Democratic Party of Washington
OPB Radio, 8/20/08

(This information furnished by Seth Woolley, Pacific Green Party of Oregon.)

Argument in Opposition

It is DANGEROUS to your freedom.

It severely LIMITS your choices.

It gives ultimate POWER TO TWO PARTIES and DESTROYS all the rest.

Far from giving you more choice – it will eliminate even your ability to HAVE a choice. Yes, Independents and current third parties will get to choose between all the candidates but let's look a little further down the track and maybe we'll see the train coming.

First you'll have 3 Democrats, 3 Republicans, 1 Green, 1 Libertarian, 1 Constitution, 1 Family Party, 1 Socialist. If the county is strongly Democrat – you very well could get 2 Democrats on the General Ballot to choose from. If the county is strongly Republican, you get 2 Republicans. But you will NEVER see a third party on the General Ballot. Is this what YOU call choice?

Now let's look at the following election. Ah, the Democrats and Republicans are wising up. They know there is no percentage in running more than TWO candidates in the primary so they eliminate everyone but the two THEY think have the best chance. The only problem is YOU are not the one making that choice – the party is making it for you.

No wonder there is bi-partisan support for this ballot measure! It truly benefits the power of Democrat and Republican leaders to make decisions for you. And then when there's only ONE candidate running for each party in the primary ...why don't we just GET RID OF THE PRIMARY election all together.

Even the website sponsoring and promoting this measure knows it is deeply flawed. Why else would they not bother to have a link to the actual ballot measure on their site? They think you're too stupid to even look past their little sound bite summaries.

We believe in YOU making choices on your own. You don't need ANY party making the decision for you.

Renee Kimball
Hugo Schulz

(This information furnished by Renee Kimball and Hugo Schulz.)

Argument in Opposition

Vote NO! Do not give up your rights.

Measure 65 violates your right of free association. The U.S. Supreme Court says: "The right to associate for the election of candidates is fundamental to the operation of our political system." People have the right to have their candidate presented to the people. Under Measure 65, smaller political parties will be driven out of existence.

Measure 65 violates your right of free speech. Only the viewpoints of the top two vote recipients will be heard. Even if a contrary viewpoint is supported by a media campaign, that campaign can not offer any alternatives since access to the general election ballot has been denied.

Measure 65 violates your right to vote. Your right to vote for a candidate of your choice will be denied. The ability to cast a write-in ballot is no substitute for ballot access.

Measure 65 can result in only one candidate on the ballot. If a candidate withdraws after the primary and there was no third candidate, only one name will be on the ballot.

Measure 65 will reduce voter turnout. Despite Measure 65's goal, the recent primary election in Washington demonstrated this system depresses voter participation.

Measure 65 can result in only a single party being represented in the general election. The recent primary election in Washington demonstrated this happens even when multiple parties participate in the primary. This is not healthy for democracy.

Political parties exist because they have different world views and opinions of how government should operate. However, this isn't a partisan issue, it is a fairness issue. Every viewpoint should be represented in the general election.

The Oregon Republican Party urges you to vote NO in Measure 65.

(This information furnished by Andrew Over, Executive Director, Oregon Republican Party.)