We’re the county chairs of the Democratic and Republican parties in Coos County. As party leaders, we often disagree on a number of issues. But this election cycle, there is one idea so bad we have no difficulty agreeing: Both the Democratic and Republican Parties oppose Measure 90 because it eliminates choices for voters in Oregon.
Measure 90 will hurt Oregon’s democracy by capping the number of candidates that can participate in our November election to only two. This “Top Two” election system is opposed by nearly all of Oregon’s political parties because it would likely close out minor parties, limit debate, and force voters in some places to have to choose between only Democrats or only Republicans. While we might love the idea of a ballot with only one party – if it were our own –we understand that a healthy democracy is one where all sides have a voice in our elections.
We know voters like to have choices too. When we look at our neighbors to the north and south, we can see the consequences of a “Top Two” election system. In California and Washington, 25% of general election races are between two candidates from the same political party who largely share the same views on major political issues. Studies show that fewer votes are cast in “Top Two” elections because voters want real choices. We think they deserve real choices.
Making matters worse, Measure 90 is full of flaws. Under Measure 90, it appears that candidates getting more than 50% in the May election would automatically win their race and eliminate the November election for many important offices. Measure 90 even seems to eliminate the possibility of write-in candidates. Before we dramatically change the way Oregon handles elections we need to be careful and make sure that we are doing it right.
We may not agree on much but we agree that Measure 90 is not right for Oregon!