By Mark Wachtler
November 14, 2014. Portland. (ONN) While America’s opposition parties evaluate how their candidates across the country did in the Election, the entire movement is celebrating a resounding victory in Oregon. Establishment forces led by billionaire Michael Bloomberg put a referendum on the ballot that would change the state’s voting process from a Primary system to Top Two. But voters, led by the state’s Greens, Libertarians and Constitutionals, won a resounding victory, saving Oregon from losing its open democracy.
‘Top Two’ voting systematically excludes nearly all independent and opposition candidates from General Elections. Image courtesy of CAGreens.org.
Top Two Voting
Supporters of Top Two voting will tell you that it increases voter participation. But that’s only because it forces independents to vote in two Elections instead of one. The downside is that only Democrats and Republicans ever make it to the General Election under the Top Two system. And quite often, voters have to choose between two Republicans or two Democrats and no one else.
California began using Top Two voting two years ago. What were the results? As detailed by Opposition News earlier this year, before Top Two, Opposition Parties like the Libertarians, Greens and Peace & Freedom ran an average of 133 candidates each Election. Under Top Two in 2012, the Parties collectively only were able to get 21 on the ballot. And of those 21, not a single candidate made it onto the 2012 General Election ballot in California.
Read the Opposition News article, ‘Peace & Freedom Party fights Top Two Voting in CA’ for further details.
Oregon Greens say NO to Top Two
Immediately on Election night last week, the Green Party of Oregon formally announced two victories. The first was the legalization of marijuana in the state. And the second was the rejection of Top Two voting. The announcement from the state Party read, “The Pacific Green Party of Oregon, long at the forefront of social change, is celebrating the beginning of the end of cannabis Prohibition, as well as the resounding rejection of the billionaire-backed Top Two ballot measure.”
Local Green Party spokesperson Blair Bobier proclaimed, “More Oregonians agree with the policies and philosophy of the Green Party than any other party. And now that Top Two has been rejected overwhelmingly for the second time, despite the millions of dollars behind it, we need to consider real changes to the election system, such as Instant Runoff Voting and public campaign financing.”
Oregon Libertarians say NO to Top Two
Joining the Oregon Greens in the grassroots campaign to defeat Top Two voting was the Libertarian Party of Oregon. The Oregon Libertarians also released an Election night victory announcement saying, “Oregonians sent a strong message of support for strong third parties and for the value of a vibrant culture of ideas in their elections, with a crushing rejection of Measure 90.” Local Party leaders insisted the ballot initiative was, “backed primarily by out-of-state interests.”
The announcement went on to echo the pitfalls of Top Two saying, “While some claimed that this would actually be beneficial to third parties, similar schemes in other states have resulted in nearly total exclusion of minority voices from General Elections. Indeed, in places where one or the other of the major parties are dominant, this sort of process has seen only two Democrats or two Republicans available to voters on Election Day.”
“As a Libertarian, I want voters to be able to express the full range of their opinions on their ballots, instead of having a sterile monoculture of political positions to choose from,” said Lars Hedbor, Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Oregon. Libertarian State Chair Wes Wagner added, “We’re grateful to the voters that they provided a clear message to these out-of-state meddlers - Oregon likes its choices unfiltered.”
On Tuesday, November 4th, Oregon voters rejected Top Two voting:
No to Top Two – 905,570 (68.2%)
Yes to Top Two – 422,237 (31.8%)
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