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Open primaries worth voting on

Too often, Oregonians are asked to sign initiative petitions that primarily serve the special interests of the sponsors. As the July 7 deadline approaches for gathering signatures for the November ballot, voters are being given the unusual opportunity to support an initiative that seeks only to advance the public interest.

Phil Keisling and Norma Paulus, two former secretaries of state, are the forces behind an open-primary campaign. Their proposed initiative would remove some of the extreme partisanship from Oregon politics by allowing every registered voter - regardless of party - to vote in primary elections for whoever they feel best represents them. An open primary will loosen the grip of the two major parties and encourage moderation.

The initiative's proponents have but a few days left, and they are tantalizingly close to the required number of signatures. If you are inclined to sign any ballot initiative this year, make it the open-primary proposal. Information is online at www.oneballot.com.