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CHANGES IN THE COURTS?

Measures aim for more public involvement

Oregon voters are deciding this fall whether to make major changes in the judicial system through measures 21 and 22.

Measure 21 would require listing 'None of the above' as a candidate in all judicial elections and allow election of candidates receiving a simple majority of the vote. A majority vote for 'None of the above' would force new elections until a candidate won.

Measure 22 would require that judges on the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals be elected by district, not statewide.

Supporters placed both measures on the ballot out of frustration with some recent state court decisions. The measures are ways, they say, to give the public more say in matters decided by the law. They see too many judges from urban areas and too few competitive judicial races.

Opponents see danger in any effort to bring politics into matters judged on the impartiality of law. They envision gridlock in the courts, with judicial seats lying vacant for long periods of time.