Fun with the OR Voters' Pamphlet: Ballot Measure Edition

This is the second part in my two-part series having a little bit of fun with the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet.  This part discusses the main arguments presented by each side in every contested ballot measure and then dissects them for pure comedic value.

Cross-Posted from Loaded Orygun: ?diaryId=1335

The Oregon Voters' Pamphlet is currently posted at: 42008/military_vp.html

Please note that this is the "Military/Overseas" edition and as such is a bit rough (it is basically scanned in PDFs).

For a more serious look at these measures, see my diary from a few weeks back: The Final Oregon Ballot: Game On!

For each measure I present each side's major arguments and list the number of arguments filed for and against.  I then analyze and make fun of these arguments.

Note: These are obviously gross exaggerations of some of these arguments so bear with me.  I focus on the main argument for each side, but multiple arguments do exist for/against most measures.

For the record, this is how I personally will vote on each measure:

54: Yes.

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes.
  3. Yes.
  4. No.
  5. No.
  6. No.
  7. No.
  8. No.
  9. No.
  10. No.
  11. No.

Oregon's Ballot Measures:

Measure Summary:

Measure Type:

Legislative Referrals:

Measure 54 (C):
Summary: This corrects a bizarre flaw in the state constitution that prohibits citizens under 21 from voting in school board elections (a provision which is, of course, not in effect but should be removed anyways).
No arguments filed for or against.

Measure 55 (C):
Summary: Minor fixes to the state's redistricting process.
Known Opposition: None.
No arguments filed for or against.

Measure 56 (S):
Summary: Partially repeals the Double Majority law requiring that 50% of registered voters cast ballots in an election for a bond measure to pass for May and November votes.
Arguments Filed For/Against: 23/7.

Yes Argument: The Double Majority Law basically means that measures that would otherwise pass fail because people don't vote.
The Real Argument: We're losing because people don't vote.

No Argument: The Double Majority Law protects taxpayers from being abused by local governments who may repeatedly sneak ballot measures past them until they pass.
The Real Argument: We hate taxes and we know that the only people likely to vote in non-general elections are those that support taxes.

Measure 57 (S):
Summary: Proposes an alternative to Kevin Mannix's (R-Of Course) property crime sentence minimum initiative.  Focuses state policy on treatment rather than prison for low level drug and property crimes.

Arguments Filed For/Against: 23/6.

Yes Argument: Kevin Mannix's crime bill costs too much because it requires building of too many prisons and focuses on punishment and not treatment.
The Real Argument: Mannix's measure will pass if we don't propose this measure so that's exactly what we're doing.  We can't really afford this one either but we are in less deep sh-t if we pass this one than Mannix's.

No Argument: This measure is just a kiss-off designed by politicians to appear that they are doing something when they are in fact not to prevent crime.
The Real Argument: We want everyone who has ever committed any real crime at all locked away forever.  Rehabilitation, forget it.  If Jean Villejean of Les Miserables fame stole bread under this measure, he'd get hard time and we don't want any excuses about why he did it.

Citizen Constitutional and Statutory Measures:

Measure 58 (S):
Chief Sponsor: Bill Sizemore.
Summary: This measure would require English immersion rather than ESL for children for whom English is not their primary language.
Arguments Filed For/Against: 8/29.

Yes Argument: Children of immigrants learn English best and integrate best into our society if they have English immersion, not ESL.
The Real Argument: Learn English you Mex-I-Cans!  This is A-Mer-ika and you dang well better speak it rather than that there Espan-Yol....

No Argument: It costs too much and is not effective to force English immersion on new immigrants and their children.
The Real Argument: The other side is a bunch of racist f-ers and we shouldn't listen to them.

Measure 59 (S):
Chief Sponsor: Bill Sizemore
Summary: This is at least the third time that Sizemore and his gang have proposed this measure, which makes federal income taxes fully deductible on state returns.  This measure largely benefits high wage earners and would blow a huge hole in the state's budget.
Arguments Filed For/Against: 6/28.

Yes Argument: Allowing a full federal deduction saves taxpayers money and thus stimulates the economy.
The Real Argument: Allowing a full federal deduction saves rich people money (the current deduction covers most middle class folks).

No Argument: This deduction is unnecessary and would blow a huge hole in the state budget.
The Real Argument: This deduction would cost a whole lot of state jobs, including teachers. cops and firefighters.  You like teachers, cops and firefighters don't you?

Measure 60 (S):
Chief Sponsor: Bill Sizemore
Summary: This would require "merit-pay" for teachers in public schools.
Arguments Filed For/Against: 6/26.

Yes Argument: We should focus on retaining the best teachers, not simply those that have been there the longest.
The Real Argument: We want another excuse to cut teachers we don't like.

No Argument: Merit pay doesn't work because it is difficult to measure student performance.
The Real Argument: We're used to the seniority system and we want to keep it.

Measure 61 (S):
Chief Sponsor: Kevin Mannix
Summary: This is Kevin Mannix's draconian sentencing measure for property and low-level drug crimes.
Arguments Filed For/Against: 7/19.

Yes Argument: Those committing low level drug and property crimes get off too easy nowadays.
The Real Argument: Measure 11 (Mannix's Mandatory Minimum Measure) worked so well at increasing the need for prisons, why not go for broke?

No Argument: This law is overly punitive, most of these folks need treatment, not jail.
The Real Argument: We can't afford this measure, it's as simple as that.

Measure 62 (C):
Chief Sponsor: Kevin Mannix.
Summary: Dedicates 15% of Oregon Lottery proceeds to crime fighting/prevention efforts.
Arguments Filed For/Against: 6/10.

Yes Argument: If we want real crime prevention, we need a stable funding source like the lottery.
The Real Argument: This also takes away money from those pesky public schools to boot, we don't like public schools that much.

No Argument: This would decrease funding for other programs, parks and schools mainly, funded by the lottery.
The Real Argument: Gambling has been funding us for a long time and we can't afford to lose any money from people who are foolish enough to play the lottery.

Measure 63 (S):
Chief Sponsor; Bill Sizemore
Summary: This measure would allow minor building changes without a permit.
Arguments Filed For/Against: 6/24.

Yes Argument: Right now, in order to make minor building changes to your home or business, you need to get a pesky permit.  This should not be so.
The Real Argument: This is a backhanded way of starving local governments that depend on permit revenue and thus decreasing the size of government.  Oh and we hate pesky permitting requirements for the most part too.

No Argument: Permit requirements are there for our own good and safety.
The Real Argument: Local governments rely so heavily on permit revenues that we can't afford to lose them.

Measure 64 (S):
Chief Sponsor: Bill Sizemore
Summary: Sizemore brings back an old and twice-failed idea to ban public-employee unions from using dues for political purposes.
Arguments Filed For/Against: 7/30.

Yes Argument: Since public employee unions work for the public, they should not be involved in any way in politics.
The Real Argument: Public employee unions are the single biggest source of funding for the Oregon D's and this way we can kill the Democrats $ source.

No Argument: People can already opt out of their dues being spent on political campaigns.  This is just a backhanded way to destroy our influence.
The Real Argument: We lose a lot of our power if this measure passes.

Measure 65 (S):
Chief Sponsor: Former SOS Phil Keisling (D)
Summary: Creates a Top-Two Open Primary in which all parties run their candidates on the same ballot and the top two, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.
Arguments Filed For/Against: 20/15

Yes Argument: The top two primary makes sense because it allows the top two candidates regardless of party affiliation to advance to the general election, allowing for choice and encouraging turnout in the primary.
The Real Argument: We don't like the control parties have our the primaries.

No Argument: The top two primary doesn't increase turnout and actually decreases the chance a third-party candidate will make it to the general election.  If you want to vote in a primary, register as a member of a political party.
The Real Argument: The Republican and Democratic parties don't want to lose control of their nominating processes.

Let me know what you think.

Tags: 2008 elections, Oregon, satire (all tags)



Comments Welcome!

Let me know what you think...

by skywaker9 2008-09-08 08:54AM | 0 recs
Measure 56

Interesting thing with this in our town, is that measures have passed that wouldn't have otherwise because of a small number of "no" votes.  We've had intiatives, for example, to raise property taxes for additional school funding (they call it "youth activities" since it can't be directly tied to the school budgets), which I have supported.  Naturally most of the voters who are engaged and motivated around the issue are the proponents, but you'll see them even encouraging the "no" voters to vote just to get over the 50% threshold.  I am happy to see the funding measures pass, but it's kind of a dupe.  The "no" voters who are hip to the math know the best bet is to not vote at all, but it's always that few who don't get it that adamently cast that "no" vote that help get the measures over the 50% threshold.  Ironic.

by Susan in Oregon 2008-09-08 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Measure 56

I think there was something like 25 measures that would have passed if the Double Majority hadn't been in place even IF every single person required to get to 50% turnout had voted no....

by skywaker9 2008-09-08 10:18AM | 0 recs

I'm sure that's true.  It's a weird system.  In a sense it's creating a way to make non-votes count... if you know what I mean.  That's just philosphically peculiar if citizen engagement is a civic objective.

by Susan in Oregon 2008-09-08 10:24AM | 0 recs
Re:Ballot Measure Edition

I agree with your "no" recommendation on ballot measure 65.

BM 65 will wipe out parties with fewer than 10,000 registered members who now maintain their legal status by running candidates who receive at least 1% of the vote in statewide general elections.  ORS 249.008. (BM 65 will keep minor party candidates from the top-two general election ballot, eliminating their chance to obtain the 1% vote,  a fact confirmed by Ballot Access News founder Richard Winger, who finds no minor party candidate advancing in any jungle or blanket style primary anywhere).
BM 65 allows political punking and dirty tricks

  Below-the-radar campaigns by ideologues with a core constituency of say 15-20% in the low turnout May election in Oregon can secure one of the top-two spots (Hello, David Duke, who twice made the top-two runoff in the Louisiana version of this top-two-once in the governor's race,  leading to bumperstickers: "Vote for the crook: This time it's important" and "Vote for the Lizard, Not the Wizard.;" and once for Senate   He came close to the top-two again in 1999,  in a special election for an open congressional seat and received 19 % of the vote, a very close third place.).

In a crowded field, the top-two can be the "winners" with as little as 18% of the vote.  And expect political dirty tricks to make sure that the May ballot has lots of "candidates" who will split the votes.  Anyone can re-register as a "Democrat," or "Republican" only 70 days before the filing deadline, so expect a surge of these newly-minted candidates to try to split the opposing party's vote.

Stifles citizen voices.

Independent voters engage in personal democracy, they want their votes to count.  But actual political strength and the power to change history also come from the great cognate rights of the the First Amendment--our freedoms of speech, assembly and association and to collectively petition the government.

A vote is an individual act, concerted action is what brought about Abolition, women's suffrage, trust busting, the social safety net, environmental protection, the end to the last tragic, pointless war.  Abraham Lincoln won the presidency on a "minor" party ticket.  The hell-raisers from the Populists and Progressives brought reform into the political mainstream through their candidates and platforms.

A robust democracy needs more voices, often brought to prominence through political campaigns.  Killing minor parties and wiping out citizen-sponsored candidates (in Oregon candidates can now get on the ballot through petition or through assemblies of 1000 voters) is bad for Oregon.

In practice, the need for insurgent and competitive candidates cannot be known until after the traditional  May primary.  In Oregon, citizens (led by the Grange)  had to draft a candidate for governor by petition in 1930 because the major party candidates were hand-picked by corporate interests and opposed rural power development and action to lift Oregon out of the depression.  Julius Meier won by 54% of the total vote, more than the other candidates combined vote.

by Lindapendent 2008-09-09 12:02PM | 0 recs


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