Oregon’s Measure 90 ballot initiative, that would have elminated party primaries and effectively ended Libertarian participation in general elections, was trounced at the polls on November 4:
- No votes: 905,570 (68.2%)
- Yes votes: 422,237 (31.8%)
The Libertarian Party of Oregon issued the following press release on its defeat:
Oregonians sent a strong message of support for strong third parties and for the value of a vibrant culture of ideas in their elections, with a crushing rejection of Measure 90. Backed primarily by out-of-state interests, Measure 90 sought to replace the current primary elections system with an “open primary” listing all candidates from all parties, with only the top two vote recipients advancing to appear on the general election ballot.
While proponents of Measure 90 claimed that this would actually be beneficial to third parties, similar schemes in other states have resulted in nearly total exclusion of minority voices from general elections. Indeed, in places where one or the other of the major parties are dominant, this sort of process has seen only two Democrats or two Republicans available to voters on Election Day.
“As a Libertarian, I want voters to be able to express the full range of their opinions on their ballots, instead of having a sterile monoculture of political positions to choose from,” said Lars Hedbor, Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Oregon. Wes Wagner, Chair of the LPO added, “When you find the Oregon Democratic Party, Constitution Party, and Libertarian Party all fighting against a measure, you know that you have a spectacularly bad idea.”
The Libertarian Party of Oregon operates its own, privately-funded primary elections, and nominated 50 candidates in this election cycle, 33 of which were Libertarian Party-only nominees, with 17 fusion nominations. With the failure of Measure 90, the LPO expects to build on this success in the next election, with the eventual goal of displacing the GOP as Oregon’s second major party.
Said Wagner, “We’re grateful to the voters that they provided a clear message to these out-of-state meddlers — Oregon likes its choices unfiltered.”