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By NWV News Director, Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
August 25, 2008 competition

Oregon voters may find themselves being confused over a ballot initiative being added this coming Election. According to observers, who have researched how Measure 65 would change their state's election process, Oregon voters would be limited to choosing between only two candidates even if they are both members of the same party.

During the primaries, Oregonians will all be given the same ballot, regardless of their party affiliation. The two top vote-getters will move on to the general election, even if they both happen to be Republicans, Democrats or one of each.

"In other words, it eliminates partisan primary elections for state and local political offices in Oregon. Instead, all candidates for a political office, regardless of party affiliation, would appear on the same ballot, and all voters, regardless of party registration, could vote in the primary. Only the top two primary vote-getters for each office would be on the November election ballot," claims conservative strategist Mike Baker.

Former Oregon Secretary of State Phil Keisling, a Democrat, teamed up with a liberal Republican predecessor, Norma Paulus, to sponsor Measure 65. He said he’ll be watching this Tuesday’s election results in Washington for evidence he can use to make the case to Oregonians that voters get more choices under the top two format. Voters in Washington State already passed a similar measure.

"If passed, Measure 65 will spell the end of all third parties in Oregon. They will NEVER be on the General Ballot again if this measure passes and will most likely lose their certification to be on ANY ballot in the state of Oregon," former Oregon gubernatorial candidate and news anchorwomen Mary Starret told

During her run as the Constitution Party candidate for governor in 2006, the Republicans attempted to exclude Starret from the ballot, but the Oregon court and secretary of state ruled in her favor.

"If this process spreads across the United States, third-party candidates such as Bob Barr (Libertarian Party) and Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party) will be excluded from state ballots," said Baker.

"This is an attempt by liberals to stack the deck against true representatives of the people and make voting by citizens almost a meaningless gesture," he added.

An immigrant from a Communist country interviewed by said "This is exactly what they have in communist Russia. The only choices people have are either Communist candidate A or Communist candidate B. All other competition is eliminated," he added. "Khrushchev was right when he pounded his shoe on the desk at the United Nations in the 60's and said that Americans will accept communism and not even know it." "The difference is, here in America most people are gullible and ignorant of Communism and are freely forging their own chains of slavery and voting away their freedoms" added the immigrant.

Washington’s voters adopted a "top two" system in 2004. But legalities kept it on hold until a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last March allows the current primary to be conducted as a top two format. Washington voters will use the format to select finalists for state, legislative and judicial offices.

Organizations and activists on the left and right of the political system agree that Measure 65 is bad law. For example, Brianne Hyder, spokeswoman for the Oregon Republican Party, questioned the value of reforming a nominating process that seems to work just fine.

“The closed primary system that we have now has been working for us, and opening the primary is going to create more problems than it’s going to solve,” she said in a press release.

"The time and resources of the legislature are already strained by efforts to deal with the critical issues facing Oregon, such as education, public safety and others. Measure 65 would make it easy for groups or individuals to literally paralyze the legislative process by referring large numbers of administrative rules," said their spokesperson.

Democratic Party of Oregon spokesman Marc Seigel told reporters that while Washington’s advocates of the top two primary are touting predictions of higher turnout, interest in the general election could wane if candidate choices are limited to only two candidates.

“One of the concerns is that the top two primary will reduce participation and Washington could be one of many examples of that,” Seigel told a reporter from the Register-Guard.

Joseph Cornwell, vice chairman of the Libertarian Party of Oregon, said his counterparts in Washington oppose the new format because it makes it harder for third parties to access the general election ballot. “It’s not exciting,” he said. “It’s basically taking a choice away from the voters by pushing out any of the smaller parties.”

"It will also guarantee there will probably NEVER be another REPUBLICAN on the General Ballot in Multnomah County - EVER!!! There will only be two Democrats to choose from. So much for diversity and choice!!" Suzanne Brownlow of the Constitution Party of Oregon told

Meanwhile, former NYPD detective and security firm owner Sid Frances believes this spells the beginning of the end of the conservative wing of the Republican Party, which means "the end of the Republican Party as we knew it."

"This fall in Washington, for example, no Republicans are even running for attorney general or the Fourth Congressional District in the upcoming November election," said Francis.

Under current election regulations, party members get to put their top choice forward -- through the major parties’ May primaries and the minor parties’ nominating conventions. The Libertarians will hold their convention in Portland while the Pacific-Greens nominated candidates in Eugene for the general election ballot.

The conventions assure minor-party access to the November ballot. But under the top two system, they’d appear on the primary ballot but would not necessarily go on to the general election.

“The important elections take place in the fall,” Cornwell said. “That’s when (people) look to see the lawn signs come out ... and start reading the voters’ pamphlet.”

Observers in other states are concerned about this latest political "scheme." Mike Baker, a political strategist in New Jersey, views Measure 65 as a way to eventually limit the number of political parties participating in local and national elections.

"Slowly but surely, Americans are being denied fair elections. As it is the system already favors the two major political parties, both of which have been taken over by liberal-left politicians and activists," claims Baker.

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Baker told that Measure 65 will have serious consequences even for the two major political parties.

"Try to imagine the sheer horror of having both Democrat and Republican Parties under the control of the liberal-left. It'll be the downfall of the United States and will open the door to the Internationalists who believe America is simply a cash-cow for the world," said Baker.

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During the primaries, Oregonians will all be given the same ballot, regardless of their party affiliation. The two top vote-getters will move on to the general election, even if they both happen to be Republicans, Democrats or one of each.