Independent Voter Project

Nonpartisan Reforms Require Voter Education, Not Political Talking Points

On Tuesday, November 4, registered Oregon voters who participated in the midterm elections were able to weigh in on 7 ballot measures, one of which, Measure 90, would reform the current primary system in the state from a closed partisan primary to a nonpartisan, top-two open primary. The measure failed in a vote that was not even close, 68.3 percent voting “No” and 31.7 percent voting “Yes.”

In the last 4 years, 3 top-two ballot measures have appeared on statewide ballots in 3 different states. In 2010, California voters passed Proposition 14 to implement the top-two primary system. In 2012, Arizona voters had an opportunity to reform their state’s electoral system, but a majority of voters voted against the top-two primary, and a top-two measure failed to pass in Oregon in 2014.

Despite top-two only passing in one of these states, all three states share a common trend: the number of voters who choose not to register with either major party is growing.

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