Measure 65

Text of Measure

AN ACT

Relating to elections; creating new provisions; amending ORS 188.120, 254.056 and 254.115; and repealing ORS 254.025 and 254.365.

The people, exercising their legislative authority under Article IV Section 2 of the Oregon Constitution, find as follows:

All Oregon voters should have the full and equal ability, at every election, to choose those whom they believe are best suited to govern them.

Competitive and open elections that encourage thoughtful debate and maximum participation are healthy for democracy and strengthen citizens' trust in their government.

Citizens should be able to register and affiliate with any legal political party, or none at all, according to their beliefs and without any coercion or diminishment of their rights as voters.

Political parties should be able to endorse and support any qualified candidate, or none at all, according to the beliefs and choices of their members and without any compulsion or diminishment of their rights through operations of law;

A primary election process that advances the two candidates receiving the most votes to the general election ballot, and that allows every qualified voter to vote on which candidate to advance, helps to ensure the election of officials supported by a majority of the electorate, thereby promoting citizen confidence in their government.

And therefore enact the following law:

SECTION 1. Sections 2 to 21 of this 2008 Act may be referred to and cited as the Open Primary Act of 2008.

SECTION 2. Sections 3 to 6 of this 2008 Act are added to and made a part of ORS chapter 249.

SECTION 3. Statement of intent. The intent of the Open Primary Act of 2008 is to create a fully open primary system, applicable to all voter choice offices, through which Oregon electors may select two finalist candidates to appear on the general election ballot regardless of the political party affiliation, or lack of party affiliation, of the elector or candidate.

SECTION 4. Definitions. As used in this chapter, "voter choice office" means the office of United States Senator, Representative in Congress, Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Attorney General, state Senator or state Representative; or any other state, county, city or district office that is not:

(1) A nonpartisan office; or

(2) An office for which nominations to the general election by political parties are expressly authorized by law.

SECTION 5. Particular Provisions for Voter Choice Offices.

(1) Top two candidates nominated. Except as provided in a home rule charter and subsection (2) of this section, for voter choice offices, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes at the primary election shall be nominated to the general election.

(2) Vacancies between Primary and General Elections. If at least three candidates stood for nomination in the primary election, then if a vacancy occurs in a nomination to a voter choice office after the primary election and before the 61st day before the general election, the qualified candidate who received the next highest number of votes at the primary election, if any, shall be the replacement nominee. The chief elections officer shall file the name of the replacement nominee with each appropriate county clerk.

SECTION 6. Filing and nominating petition process for voter choice office. Except with respect to the particular matters as to which this Act provides otherwise, all provisions of state law that apply to the filing and nomination processes of candidates for nonpartisan offices, also apply to voter choice offices.

SECTION 7. Sections 8 to 10 of this 2008 Act are added to and made a part of ORS chapter 254.

SECTION 8. Definitions. As used in this chapter, "voter choice office" means the office of United States Senator, Representative in Congress, Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Attorney General, state Senator or state Representative or any state, county, city or district office that is not:

(1) A nonpartisan office; or

(2) An office for which nominations to the general election by political parties are expressly authorized by law.

SECTION 9. Election ballots for voter choice offices.
(1) This section is intended to give Oregon voters access to information in the public record about candidates for voter choice offices and the political parties that endorse them, without infringing on the rights of political parties and their members to organize and associate.

(2) For a voter choice office in a primary election, the county clerk shall print on the ballot:

(a) If the candidate is registered as affiliated with a political party as of the 70th day before the date of the primary election, then following the name of the candidate the statement "Registration: ____________" (name of political party); or

(b) If the candidate is not registered as affiliated with a political party as of the 70th day before the date of the primary election, then following the name of the candidate either the statement "Registration: not a member of a party" or, if the candidate chooses, no statement at all concerning the candidate's party registration status; and

(c) At least once on each ballot that contains a voter choice office, the statement: "A candidate's political party registration shown on this ballot for voter choice offices is the candidate's own party registration status as of 70 days prior to the election. It does not imply the endorsement of the political party identified;" and

(d) the name of each major or minor political party (if any) that has officially endorsed that candidate for voter choice office, with any such list preceded by the phrase, "Endorsed by:". The clerk shall print only such endorsements as have been received, and accepted by the candidate, through notification to the filing officer no later than the 61st day before the day of the election.

(3) For a voter choice office in a general election, the county clerk shall print on the ballot:

(a) If the candidate is registered as affiliated with a political party as of the 70th day before the date of the primary election, then following the name of the candidate the statement "Registration: ____________" (name of political party); or

(b) If the candidate is not registered as affiliated with a political party as of the 70th day before the date of the primary election, then following the name of the candidate either the statement "Registration: not a member of a party" or, if the candidate chooses, no statement at all concerning the candidate's party registration status; and

(c) At least once on each ballot that contains a voter choice office, the statement: "A candidate's political party registration shown on this ballot for voter choice offices is the candidate's own party registration status as of 70 days prior to the election. It does not imply the endorsement of the political party identified."

(4) For a voter choice office in a general election, the county clerk shall print on the ballot following the name of the candidate and any information required by section 3 above, the name of each major or minor political party (if any) that has officially endorsed that candidate for voter choice office, with any such list preceded by the phrase, "Endorsed by:". The clerk shall print only such endorsements as have been received, and accepted by the candidate, through notification to the filing officer no later than the 61st day before the day of the election.

(5) The term "political party" as used in this section shall mean a party qualified as a major or minor political party in this state under ORS Chapter 248

(6) The Secretary of State may adopt rules to implement this section.

SECTION 10. Election Process for voter choice office. Except with respect to the particular matters as to which this Act provides otherwise, all provisions of state law that apply to elections and ballots for nonpartisan offices, also apply to voter choice offices.

SECTION 11. Severability. Section 9 of this Act, and each of its subsections, is severable from the balance of this Act. If this Act is ruled unconstitutional as a consequence of the provisions of section 9 (or any subsection of section 9) then the offending subsection or subsections of section 9 causing such effect shall be stricken from this Act, and all remaining subsections and sections shall remain in effect.

SECTION 12. Federal legislative vacancies. ORS 188.120 is amended to read:

188.120. (1) If a vacancy in election or office of Representative in Congress or United States Senator occurs before the 61st day before the general election, the Governor shall call a special election to fill that vacancy. If a vacancy in election or office of United States Senator occurs after the 62nd day before the general election but on or before the general election, and if the term of that office is not regularly filled at that election, the Governor shall call a special election to fill the vacancy as soon as practicable after the general election.

(2) If a special election to fill the vacancy in election or office of Representative in Congress or United States Senator is called before the 80th day after the vacancy occurs, [each major political party shall select its nominee for the office and certify the name of the nominee to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall place the name of the nominee on the ballot] nominations to the election shall take the form of a declaration of candidacy or nominating petition, which may be filed by any otherwise eligible elector.

(3) If a special election to fill the vacancy in election or office of Representative in Congress or United States Senator is called after the 79th day after the vacancy occurs, a special primary election shall be conducted by the Secretary of State for the purpose of nominating candidates [a candidate of each major political party] to the special election called to fill the vacancy.

(4) Special elections and special primary elections conducted under this section shall be as provided for voter choice offices generally, except that the Secretary of State may accept nominating petitions, declarations of candidacy, and endorsements according to a schedule for filing set by the secretary, and except that, in the case of a special election held under subsection (1) of this section, the ballot shall include the names of all qualified candidates who have filed declarations of candidacy or nominating petitions.

SECTION 13. Section 14 of this 2008 Act is added to and made a part of ORS chapter 236.

SECTION 14. Vacancies in voter choice offices. (1) As used in this section, "voter choice office" has the meaning given that term in section 4 of this 2008 Act.

(2) Notwithstanding ORS 171.051, 171.060, 171.068, 236.100, 236.215 and 236.217, whenever a vacancy exists in any voter choice office in this state and is to be filled by appointment, a person who is otherwise eligible may be appointed to fill the vacancy regardless of the person's affiliation or lack of affiliation with a political party, and whenever a vacancy exists in any voter choice office in this state and is to be filled by election, the election procedures for voter choice offices shall be followed.

SECTION 15. Section 16 of this 2008 Act is added to and made a part of ORS 171.051 to 171.064.

SECTION 16. State legislative vacancies. In the case of a vacancy in the office of state Senator or state Representative that is to be filled by an appointing authority as provided in ORS 171.051, the following apply:

(1) The person appointed is not required to be a member of the same political party.

(2) An otherwise eligible person may be appointed to fill the vacancy regardless of the person's affiliation or lack of affiliation with a political party.

(3) Candidates for the remaining two years of the term of office of a state Senator under ORS 171.051 (4) shall be nominated as provided for that office in ORS chapter 249, except that the Secretary of State shall accept declarations of candidacy and nominating petitions according to a schedule for filing set by the secretary, but in any case not later than the 62nd day before the first general election.

(4) ORS 171.060 (1) does not apply to the appointment.

(5) The procedure described in ORS 171.060 (2) for a vacancy in the office of state Senator or state Representative not affiliated with a major political party applies to the appointment.

SECTION 17. Date and purpose of general election and primary election. ORS 254.056 is amended to read:

254.056. (1) The general election shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year. Except as provided in ORS 254.650, at the general election officers of the state and subdivisions of the state, members of Congress and electors of President and Vice President of the United States as are to be elected in that year shall be elected.

(2) The primary election shall be held on the third Tuesday in May of each even-numbered year. At the primary election [precinct committeepersons shall be elected and major political party candidates shall be nominated for offices to be filled at the general election held in that year]:

(a) Nonpartisan candidates shall be nominated or elected by all electors, as described in ORS chapter 249;

(b) Voter choice office candidates shall be nominated by all electors, as described in ORS Chapter 249, for offices to be filled at the general election held in that year; and

(d) In a presidential election year, delegates to nominating conventions for the offices of President and Vice President of the United States shall be selected as provided in ORS Chapters 248 and 249, and precinct committeepersons shall be elected by members of major political parties.

(e) Notwithstanding subsection (d) hereof, and ORS 248.015 (1) and ORS 248.015 (5) if the number of filed candidates for precinct committee is equal to or less than the number of positions to be filled at a primary election, no election shall be held, and all filed candidates shall be issued a certificate of election under ORS 248.023.

SECTION 18. Official primary election ballot. ORS 254.115 is amended to read:

254.115. (1) The official primary election ballot or ballot label shall be styled "[Official] Primary Election [Nominating] Ballot" [for the ______ Party."] and shall state:

(a) The name of the county for which it is intended.

(b) The date of the primary election.

(c) The names of all candidates for nomination or election at the primary election to nonpartisan, voter choice, or other office whose nominating petitions or declarations of candidacy have been made and filed, and who have not died, withdrawn or become disqualified.

[(d) The names of candidates for election as precinct committeeperson.]

[(e) The names of candidates for the party nomination for President of the United States who qualified for the ballot under ORS 249.078.]

(d) The number, ballot title and financial estimates under ORS 250.125 of any measure.

(e) In a presidential election year, the names of candidates for the political party nomination for President of the United States who qualified for the ballot under ORS 249.078, and the names of candidates for election as precinct committeeperson, if required. Only votes cast by members of the applicable political party shall be tallied and published for any such contest.

(2) If the election is conducted at polling places as provided in this chapter, any ballot to be issued at a polling place shall also state the number or name of the precinct for which it is intended.

[(3) The primary election ballot may include any city, county or nonpartisan office or the number, ballot title and financial estimates under ORS 250.125 of any measure.]

[(4)] (3) The ballot [shall] may not contain the name of any person other than those referred to in [subsections (1) and (3)] subsection (1) of this section. The name of each candidate for whom a nominating petition or declaration of candidacy has been filed shall be printed on the ballot in but one place. In the event that two or more candidates for the same nomination or office have the same or similar surnames, the location of their places of residence shall be printed opposite their names to distinguish one from another.

SECTION 19. Sections 20 and 21 of this 2008 Act are added to and made a part of ORS chapter 248.

SECTION 20. Political party nominations. Notwithstanding ORS 248.006, 248.007 and 248.008, at the primary election a political party otherwise authorized by law to nominate candidates through primary election may nominate candidates only for an office for which nominations to the general election by political parties are expressly authorized by law.

SECTION 21. Term in office of Precinct Committeepersons. Notwithstanding anything in ORS 248.015, the term in office of Precinct Committeepersons elected under ORS Chapter 248.015 shall be four years, and shall expire on the 24th day after the date of the primary election held in a presidential election year at which they were last elected.

SECTION 22. Repeals. ORS 254.025 and 254.365 are repealed.

SECTION 23. Captions. The section captions used in this 2008 Act are provided only for the convenience of the reader and do not become part of the statutory law of this state or express any legislative intent in the enactment of this 2008 Act.

SECTION 24. Effect. Sections 1 to 11, 13 to 16, 19, and 20 of this 2008 Act, the amendments to ORS 188.120, 254.056 and 254.115 by sections 12, 17 and 18 of this 2008 Act and the repeal of ORS 254.025 and 254.365 by section 22 of this 2008 Act:

(1) Apply only to appointments and elections to public office occurring on or after the effective date of this 2008 Act;

(2) Apply to a certificate of nomination, nominating petition or declaration of candidacy filed before the effective date of this 2008 Act for an election to a voter choice office to be conducted on or after the effective date of this 2008 Act;

(3) Apply only to vacancies occurring during terms in office where the person originally elected to the term in office during which the vacancy occurred was elected for that term after the effective date of this 2008 Act and

(3) Are not intended to require a change in the composition of any committee or commission described in ORS 137.658, 244.250 or 442.035.

Note: Boldfaced type indicates new language; [brackets and italic] type indicates deletions or comments.