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Primary voting system needs to be changed

With last week’s election, the vote on Measure 90 fell short of our goal to create a fully inclusive election system in Oregon. Thirty-two percent voted in favor of the nonpartisan reform — the same percentage of voters who are locked out of primary voting under the closed system.

The road to having an election system that recognizes and supports the independent voter is a long and winding one.

We knew that when we began this campaign, and yesterday’s results bear that out. But we are not discouraged, and we hope you won’t be either!

Many Oregonians — and many Americans — are discouraged by the state of politics and we understand why.

Elections may decide which party controls government, but the parties are more distant from the people than they’ve ever been. That’s why so many voters are independents — 42 percent nationally.

In Oregon, while 75 percent of Republicans and Democrats turned out, only 57 percent of independents voted.

This is part of the growing disillusionment with the partisan process itself, which Measure 90 was created to address. But, for the moment, it’s hard to bring those two things together, especially when the parties’ campaign against Measure 90 made people fearful of systemic change — even though that’s the very thing that’s needed!

On behalf of the Independent Voters of Oregon, we want to thank each and every one for your support for this initiative and this movement.

The 700,000 Oregon voters who do not belong to the major parties and whose ranks are growing, deserve to have full voting rights — and someday they will.

We pledge to you that we will keep our democracy efforts going strong, and we ask that you join us. The campaign for Measure 90 opened up a crucial conversation about new methods of voting, new kinds of coalitions and new ways of responding to the partisanship that is narrowing public debate and destroying our country.

Thanks so much for being a part of the conversation to bring new forms of democracy to our state.

Chuck Young and

David Ellis, co-founders

Independent Voters of Oregon

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