Oregon Secretary of State Likely to Issue Harmful Ruling

The Oregon Secretary of State has tentatively decided to issue a regulation that would injure independent candidates. Earlier this year, the legislature passed HB 2614, which says that it is illegal for a voter to nominate more than a single candidate for the November election. HB 2614 did not say what is to be done if a voter signs an independent candidate’s petition and then votes in the primary. The Secretary of State is about to issue a regulation saying, in that case, the signature is invalid but the later act of voting in the primary is legal.

No other state has ever followed a policy of disallowing the first nominating act, and permitting the second act. West Virginia formerly had a law that didn’t permit voters to sign an independent candidate petition and vote in the primary. But in West Virginia, if a voter signed the independent candidate’s petition, the signature was considered valid even if the voter did vote in the primary afterwards. Instead, it was illegal for the voter to vote in the primary (this law was never enforced, and has since been repealed).

New York formerly had such a law, but the New York State Supreme Court ruled in Lily v Mahoney in 1977 that if a signature is valid on the day it is signed, it cannot be invalidated later by the act of the voter voting in the primary. Like West Virginia, New York later repealed its primary screen-out restriction.

Other states with a primary screen-out simply didn’t permit independent candidate petitions to circulate until after the primary. Oregon has no such restriction on when independent candidates can be circulated.

Please ask the Oregon Secretary of State not to promulgate the proposed regulation. E-mail is elections@sos.state.or.us; phone is 503-986-1518; address is Hon. Bill Bradbury, Secretary of State, State Capitol, Salem Or 97310.

US House Vote on Internet & Campaign Finance

On the evening of November 2, the US House of Representatives failed to pass HR 1606, which would exempt the internet from campaign finance restrictions. The bill received 225 “Yes” votes and 182 “No” votes, but it needed two-thirds to pass, for procedural reasons. The bill’s sponsor, Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) will bring it up again at a time when it only needs a majority.