RESTARTING ELECTION REFORM
What is a “fair” election? The Nonpartisan Top-Two primary has been nicknamed a "jungle" primary and this clearly resonates with many voters. In an "open" election, two or more candidates with similar views will typically "split" a single block of voter support. Thus, a candidate may fail to advance from the primary to the general election or, may fail to win the general election, simply because there is a similar candidate on the ballot. This is a very real concern for the major parties because both Republicans and Democrats typically field more than one candidate per office. (There were 13 Republicans on the ballot in the 2016 Florida Presidential Preference Primary.) A Nonpartisan Top-Two Election is a free election - but it’s not a “fair” election. Voters in both Oregon and Arizona have reasonably concluded that fair elections are just as important, if not more important than - free elections. At a minimum, any proposed new election system cannot inherently disadvantage the top candidates – Republicans and Democrats. There are ways to mitigate the “vote splitting” problem such as “Ranked Choice” and “Approval” ballots, but vote splitting is not the real “Achilles Heel” of Nonpartisan Top-Two election systems. The “Bipartisan System”. In the large urban areas of Oregon, the number of registered Democrats far outweigh Republicans. At the same time, Republicans hold a decided edge in all the rural areas. Consequently - if the primary is nonpartisan, two candidates from the same party will likely advance to the general election in many electoral districts. Not surprisingly, partisan voters “hate” the idea of a nonpartisan primary. Under the existing “bipartisan system”, each political party is guaranteed a spot on the general election ballot - even if their candidate has no chance of winning. What is surprising - is that many unaffiliated and Independent voters also “hate” the idea of choosing between two candidates from the same party in the general election. These voters believe the purpose of the primary is to select the best “candidates” to represent the liberal and conservative approaches to governance. The purpose of the general election is then to provide voters a vigorous debate between the two sides, and the opportunity to choose between the disparate approaches. It doesn’t necessarily matter who represents the two sides of the debate, (Republican, Democrat, Minor-Party or Independent), only that both viewpoints are represented. Many unaffiliated voters will not support a new election system if it does not provide them with an obvious choice between a liberal and conservative on the general election ballot - even if they strongly support free elections. This is the fatal flaw of the Nonpartisan Top-Two primary. Voters will not support abolishing the bipartisan system. Finally, note that “unaffiliated” and “Independent” are not the same thing. Many unaffiliated voters are extremely partisan, but they have chosen not to participate in the initial “candidate selection” stage of our elections. It’s unfortunate, but in the world today, prospective employers can readily access voter registration and a plethora of other personal information on the web. Registering as a member of a political party can easily lead to lost job opportunities.
WHERE WE ARE
CORVALLIS, OREGON 17 MARCH 2018
RESTARTING ELECTION REFORM
What is a “fair” election? The Nonpartisan Top-Two primary has been nicknamed a "jungle" primary and this clearly resonates with many voters. In an "open" election, two or more candidates with similar views will typically "split" a single block of voter support. Thus, a candidate may fail to advance from the primary to the general election or, may fail to win the general election, simply because there is a similar candidate on the ballot. This is a very real concern for the major parties because both Republicans and Democrats typically field more than one candidate per office. (There were 13 Republicans on the ballot in the 2016 Florida Presidential Preference Primary.) A Nonpartisan Top-Two Election is a free election - but it’s not a “fair” election. Voters in both Oregon and Arizona have reasonably concluded that fair elections are just as important, if not more important than - free elections. At a minimum, any proposed new election system cannot inherently disadvantage the top candidates – Republicans and Democrats. There are ways to mitigate the “vote splitting” problem such as “Ranked Choice” and “Approval” ballots, but vote splitting is not the real “Achilles Heel” of Nonpartisan Top-Two election systems. The “Bipartisan System”. In the large urban areas of Oregon, the number of registered Democrats far outweigh Republicans. At the same time, Republicans hold a decided edge in all the rural areas. Consequently - if the primary is nonpartisan, two candidates from the same party will likely advance to the general election in many electoral districts. Not surprisingly, partisan voters “hate” the idea of a nonpartisan primary. Under the existing “bipartisan system”, each political party is guaranteed a spot on the general election ballot - even if their candidate has no chance of winning. What is surprising - is that many unaffiliated and Independent voters also “hate” the idea of choosing between two candidates from the same party in the general election. These voters believe the purpose of the primary is to select the best “candidates” to represent the liberal and conservative approaches to governance. The purpose of the general election is then to provide voters a vigorous debate between the two sides, and the opportunity to choose between the disparate approaches. It doesn’t necessarily matter who represents the two sides of the debate, (Republican, Democrat, Minor- Party or Independent), only that both viewpoints are represented. Many unaffiliated voters will not support a new election system if it does not provide them with an obvious choice between a liberal and conservative on the general election ballot - even if they strongly support free elections. This is the fatal flaw of the Nonpartisan Top-Two primary. Voters will not support abolishing the bipartisan system. Finally, note that “unaffiliated” and “Independent” are not the same thing. Many unaffiliated voters are extremely partisan, but they have chosen not to participate in the initial “candidate selection” stage of our elections. It’s unfortunate, but in the world today, prospective employers can readily access voter registration and a plethora of other personal information on the web. Registering as a member of a political party can easily lead to lost job opportunities.
CORVALLIS, OREGON 17 MARCH 2018
WHERE WE ARE
RESTARTING ELECTION REFORM
What is a “fair” election? The Nonpartisan Top-Two primary has been nicknamed a "jungle" primary and this clearly resonates with many voters. In an "open" election, two or more candidates with similar views will typically "split" a single block of voter support. Thus, a candidate may fail to advance from the primary to the general election or, may fail to win the general election, simply because there is a similar candidate on the ballot. This is a very real concern for the major parties because both Republicans and Democrats typically field more than one candidate per office. (There were 13 Republicans on the ballot in the 2016 Florida Presidential Preference Primary.) A Nonpartisan Top-Two Election is a free election - but it’s not a “fair” election. Voters in both Oregon and Arizona have reasonably concluded that fair elections are just as important, if not more important than - free elections. At a minimum, any proposed new election system cannot inherently disadvantage the top candidates – Republicans and Democrats. There are ways to mitigate the “vote splitting” problem such as “Ranked Choice” and “Approval” ballots, but vote splitting is not the real “Achilles Heel” of Nonpartisan Top-Two election systems. The “Bipartisan System”. In the large urban areas of Oregon, the number of registered Democrats far outweigh Republicans. At the same time, Republicans hold a decided edge in all the rural areas. Consequently - if the primary is nonpartisan, two candidates from the same party will likely advance to the general election in many electoral districts. Not surprisingly, partisan voters “hate” the idea of a nonpartisan primary. Under the existing “bipartisan system”, each political party is guaranteed a spot on the general election ballot - even if their candidate has no chance of winning. What is surprising - is that many unaffiliated and Independent voters also “hate” the idea of choosing between two candidates from the same party in the general election. These voters believe the purpose of the primary is to select the best “candidates” to represent the liberal and conservative approaches to governance. The purpose of the general election is then to provide voters a vigorous debate between the two sides, and the opportunity to choose between the disparate approaches. It doesn’t necessarily matter who represents the two sides of the debate, (Republican, Democrat, Minor-Party or Independent), only that both viewpoints are represented. Many unaffiliated voters will not support a new election system if it does not provide them with an obvious choice between a liberal and conservative on the general election ballot - even if they strongly support free elections. This is the fatal flaw of the Nonpartisan Top-Two primary. Voters will not support abolishing the bipartisan system. Finally, note that “unaffiliated” and “Independent” are not the same thing. Many unaffiliated voters are extremely partisan, but they have chosen not to participate in the initial “candidate selection” stage of our elections. It’s unfortunate, but in the world today, prospective employers can readily access voter registration and a plethora of other personal information on the web. Registering as a member of a political party can easily lead to lost job opportunities.
WHERE WE ARE
CORVALLIS, OREGON 17 MARCH 2018