Two Rival Top-Two Initiatives are Circulating in Oregon

Oregon has two initiative petitions circulating, both of which would establish a top-two primary. Mark Frohnmayer is sponsoring petition #54, which would establish a top-two system and also use approval voting in the primary. James Kelly, a well-connected businessman, is sponsoring petition #55, which sets up a top-two system but does not use approval voting at any stage.

All initiatives in Oregon this year need 87,213 valid signatures, by July 3.


Two Rival Top-Two Initiatives are Circulating in Oregon — No Comments

  1. The top 2 disease spreads some more.

    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

    NO primaries.

  2. You recently blogged about the Oregon Supreme Court ruling against a proposed ballot title. That was for IP 38, an earlier version of IP 54. The Supreme Court approved the ballot title and Yes and No captions for IP 54 (on May 12) and IP 55 (May 14).

    Both initiatives unnecessarily restrict a candidate to being registered with a qualified party in order for that information to appear on the ballot. It would be better to require a small number of registrants (say 50) in order to be recognized as a political party; and then have a higher standard to qualify to make endorsement. It would greatly simplify that standard to base it solely on registration – perhaps 1/10 of 1% of the last gubernatorial results.

    Because they share language, I presume that IP 54 and IP 55 share a common genesis.

  3. It’s great that voters of any state would get a chance to contrast starkly different versions of the same reform. A more preferential method goes against the much more strategic voting format.

    Let’s hope voters can overcome the fear of dispensing with the perceived preferences of other powerful voices for that of their own. Great debate for voters.

  4. Thank you for that additional information, which is useful and which I didn’t know until I read your comment.

  5. We have top two already. It’s called the partisan primary. One R, one D. That’s your choices. Look at the outcomes before you disagree.

    Arrow’s theorem teaches us we can’t have a fair vote with a single choice unless there are only two in the race, and score/approval voting is a WAY better method for selection of either one or two than either the partisan plurality we have today or plurality open field. That two advance makes the approval voting pass more honest, and the single choice between two is 100% honest every time.

  6. Oregon has 8 qualified parties, more than any other state outside of the South, so I don’t understand why you say there are only two choices now. In November 2012, 25 minor party and independent candidates were elected to federal or state office around the nation, and none of those victories were in top-two states.

  7. Top 2 stuff while having minority rule gerrymanders is NO reform — and can make things even worse. See the CA 2012 general election.

    1/2 votes x 1/2 rigged gerrymander districts = 1/4 Control.
    More advanced math –
    Condorcet head to head math — using Number Votes and Approval for a tiebreaker.
    See the recent P.R. election in South Africa –,_2014

    A mere 99.0 (repeat 99.0) percent of the voters elected a member of the S.A. Parliament.

    13 parties won seats – incl 4 new parties.

  8. A bit more —
    The Divided Majority case – executive or judicial offices – 3 or more choices.

    26 ABZ
    25 BAZ
    49 Z??

    Both the majority and minority may be split into more factions.
    Note that Z has 51 votes in LAST place — and thus should automatically lose.
    However some of the Z voters may regard A as the much worse of the A or B *evils*.

  9. Richard, the number of minor party/independent candidates elected is a rounding error. 25? In the whole country to state/national office? Quit defending the status quo!

    Please please do your homework on Approval Voting. It is a fundamentally different selection method for advancing either one or two candidates, and thus equating Unified Primary to existing Top Two is well shy of anything resembling to a reasonable rigorous analysis.

  10. Result of the rigged CA Gerrymander Commission and the rigged CA top 2 primary in 2012.
    More of the same is coming in 2014 = EVIL perversion of REAL Democracy.


    3,235,771 *24.5 41 LOW D* WIN
    1,783,515 13.5 + 14 HIGH D WIN
    5,019,286 *38.0 = 55 D WIN
    2,333,674 17.7 + 25 R WIN
    7,352,960 55.7 = 80 WIN
    4,340,099 32.9 + ALL LOSERS
    11,693,059 88.6 = SUBTOTAL
    1,322,165 10.0 + PREZ NONVOTES
    13,015,224 98.6 = SUBTOTAL
    186,934 1.4 + OTH NONVOTES
    13,202,158 100.0 = TOTAL VOTERS



  11. To be consistent, you should base this on the last election for the office. For example, in Louisiana, the last state election was in 2011.

  12. It is true that 25 is not a large number of wins, given the thousands of seats that were up in the whole nation for federal and state office. But minor parties have made affected policy in U.S. history in a major way, not so much by the number of seats won, as the effect their campaigns have had on getting people supportive of new political ideas. There is no evidence that Approval Voting combined with a top-two system will enable minor parties to qualify for the general election.

  13. Do you know how many total offices were available in 2012? I would like to see the list of 25 only for curiosity (not doubting it’s true). It seems many minor party and/or true independent candidates are those who established reputations in a major party affiliation.

    The ability to build support is what make Approval voting much different than the top 2. Results of approval voting will commonly show support for minor party candidate that is as much as 10 times the results of single party votes. Approval voting is designed so that a voter does not have to judge if a candidate is ‘electable’ only if they approve of the candidte and would be willing to consider them in the General election If you support third parties, you gain a much stronger show of support AND you do it early in the election process, giving you much better footing for the general election if your candidate makes the top 2 in the primary.

    Approval voting should provide a real opportunity to build support and WIN general elections, not just participate in them as a forum for a specific ideology. I know that Mark and his team, including me, are only interested in improving the voice of ALL voters, not just those with a major party affiliation.

  14. Let me check that Richard/Jim. I believe that an non-affiliated candidate will also appear on the ballot, but maybe ‘non-affiliated’ qualifies as a party since it is selection choice when registering?

    I have to say I do not agree that ‘a party’ of 50 should qualify a candidate. You get a very cluttered ballot at that level. I believe, in Oregon, if you are not affiliated to a party, then you need X number of signatures. I know that the Independent Party of Oregon is close to qualifying as a ‘major’ party at this point, which would allow their candidates to run without the signature petitions.

    Sorry I can’t speak with more confidence, I’m off to firm up my research. Paul

  15. The people running this top two crap are neo-Fascists. Follow the money trail to see who is funding them or what jobs they will get hired at for being boot-lickers of our Masters.

    Every democratic nation on earth has all parties and independent candidates on a general election ballot.

    The top two group would get along well with Hitler or Stalin in limiting voter choices.


    This will give the requirement for all offices. I appears their is a clear route for both minor party and unaffiliated candidates to get on the ballot? If you can qualify as a candidate today, I don’t believe the ballot initiaves would supersede current state requirement. I suspect if you are NOT a memember of a major party, that their will be a required number of signature, looks like 1-2 percent of voteres participating in the last election.

  17. Gary.

    All qualified candidates will be listed on the primary ballot and ALL voters can vote in the primary. In today’s system, if a voter is not a member of one of the two major parties, they are unlikely to cast a meaningful vote in the General Election. You will have two major candidate, each with a very small minority of the publics support (and even a small percentage of their own party, let alone ALL registered voters). If one major party has a 7% advantage in registered voters, there’s a 90% chance they will win the election (even higher if they are an incumbant)

    I understand your frustration with the current system, we share that. Please stop to consider what strategies minor parties and nonaffiliated candidates could use to qualify as one of the top 2 in the first round (what we call primaries today). If you want a real chance to win, qualifying as one of two, will give you as close to equal exposure to a major party candidate as you are going to get, (but will still be disadvantaged by money support)

  18. Who is bankrolling this bullshit!!!!!

    Taking away general election choices is not freedom you little toady.

  19. I am God Damn fucking sick and tired of the assholes goose stepping at the bidding of their Masters.

  20. I looked into approval voting elections. Seems to me it more often would limit November choices to one party than top two.

    The status quo is not worth defending. But neither are either of these proposals that suggest primary elections should offer more choice than general elections

  21. In a REAL Democracy a legislative body exists ONLY because ALL of the Electors-Voters can NOT meet in person and vote on proposed legislation – i.e. Laws.

    Approval Voting is thus highly improper (just like plurality) for legislative body elections.

    See NOW – the P.R. systems in Germany, Israel, South Africa, New Zealand, etc. — ALL of them centuries ahead of the DARK AGE gerrymander systems in the U.K., USA, Canada, India, etc.

  22. The top two with approval voting needs to pass. The top two without approval voting is absolutely worthless as it doesn’t stop vote splitting and allow voters to vote their conscience.

    Mark’s initiative is the best thing for all political parties except the two big ones. It will make the primary much more competitive and candidates will need to get as many endorsements from as many political party’s and advocacy groups as possible to eke out a victory and make it into the top two.

    Voter’s need to have the ability to vote for the candidates they like without being penalized for it. Any third party supporters who do not support Mark’s initiative are shooting themselves in the foot. The purpose of a third party should be to get their platform enacted – not necessarily to get their candidate elected for some ego trip.

    Oregon voters have a choice: they can vote for Mark’s initiative and give third parties more influence or they can continue with the same old voting system in which third parties can get on the general ballot, but have absolutely ZERO influence as voters will be penalized if they vote for one of them.

  23. If you live in a politically polarized district (IE any of the first 3), you are already effectively limited to one party. There is no chance a Republican is going to win in the 1st/3rd and no chance a Democrat is going to win in the 2nd.

    The Unified Primary with Approval Voting would indeed likely result in two candidates from the political left in the 1st/3rd and two from the political right in the 2nd. However, in the general election voters actually have a choice. Both candidates are likely to win (high approval), and there is no fear of vote splitting since there are only two candidates.

    This process helps moderate candidates. Right now if you win the majority party’s primary, you win the general, meaning a candidates only incentive is to toe the party line. With a unified approval primary whoever could win over more opposition party members is likely to be elected, pushing for compromise.

  24. Sorry, that’s not politics as it should be. Six months of one-party dialogue with all other voices shut out?

    Evidence doesn’t show more moderate candidates winning such contests either. Sometimes yes, sometimes now. Take the famous Berman-Sherman race in 2012 in California.

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