Onward Oregon 2014 Voter Guide

Recommended Votes for Statewide Ballot Measures

In one of the more exciting off-year elections in recent memory, a number of important measures are on the ballot.  The team at Onward Oregon has pored over the arguments on both sides of each measure, and is ready to recommend the following votes:

Ballot Measure 86: YES.
Amends Constitution: Requires creation of fund for Oregonians pursuing post-secondary education, authorizes state indebtedness to finance fund
Essentially this measure allows the state to issue bonds whose proceeds could only be used to fund educational support or career training for Oregon students. Some have described it as creating an endowment for Oregon’s public universities.

The measure still leaves power in the hands of our elected officials the Legislature to decide how much additional debt to take on and when the fund would be started.  Measure 86 is is a step towards allowing this process to play out, and we applaud State Treasurer Ted Wheeler for this initiative. Vote Yes.

Ballot Measure 87: YES.
Permits employment of state judges by National Guard (military service) and state public universities (teaching)
We see no compelling reason why judges should be restricted from serving in the national guard or at our universities.  Vote Yes on this measure.

Ballot Measure 88: YES. 
Provides Oregon resident “driver card” without requiring proof of legal residence in the United States
While the Federal government twiddles its thumbs on the issue of immigration reform, this measure would reduce the number of unlicensed and uninsured motorists on our roads and does not confer citizenship or special immigration status. We encourage a Yes vote.
Ballot Measure 89: YES.
Amends Constitution: State/political subdivision shall not deny or abridge equality of rights on account of sex
This measure will expressly provide for equality in the Constitution, that up until now has only been supported by case law.  As strong supporters of equal rights for all, we also hope that a Yes vote in Oregon this fall will help provide momentum for equal rights beyond our state’s borders.
Ballot Measure 90: NO.
Changes general election nomination processes: provides for single primary ballot listing candidates; top two advance
While we strongly support measures that would increase voter participation and provide better exposure for more third-party candidates, this measure has the potential to bring back the bad old days of the “smoke filled room” which the current primary system was devised to correct.
The fact is that better alternatives exist, such as as instant runoff, which would allow minor parties to continue to appear on the ballot and would actually increase their influence, since a vote for a minor party candidate would no longer threaten to help elect one of the major party candidates. (For example, if instant runoff voting had been in effect in the 2000 presidential election, most of Ralph Nader’s votes would probably have gone to Al Gore.)
A number of other unexplored consequences such as the fate of write-in candidates and selection of replacement candidates also give us pause.
While we support the goals of Measure 90 (“More Choice, More Participation, Less Gridlock”), in practice, it may decrease voter participation and third-party exposure, and we reluctantly encourage a No vote.
Ballot Measure 91: YES.
Allows possession, manufacture, sale of marijuana by/to adults, subject to state licensing, regulation, taxation
We support legalization of marijuana with regulation and taxation.
While we encourage strong efforts to keep marijuana out of the hands of young people under 21, estimates project that marijuana legalization could bring in between $9 million and $38.5 million for the state in tax revenue in the first year alone, in addition to law enforcement and criminal justice savings from the elimination of small-time arrests and incarcerations.  Numerous studies have also shown these pot-related arrests and incarcerations to impact minority groups disproportionately, making this both a fiscal and an equality issue.

Marijuana should be regulated based on social and health policy, not based on criminality.

Vote Yes on Measure 91.
Ballot Measure 92: YES.
Requires food manufacturers, retailers to label “genetically engineered” foods as such; state, citizens may enforce
With support from both Governor Kitzhaber and Representative Richardson, genetically-engineered (“GE”) labeling is not a partisan issue. It’s not a cost issue; Consumers Union estimates an annual cost to Oregonians of $2.30 a year.
Simply put, this is an issue of consumer choice.  Measure 92 enables consumers to make informed decisions about the food they are purchasing.
We encourage Oregonians to vote in their own interests, and not the interests of agribusiness giants Monsanto and Syngenta.
Vote Yes on Measure 92.

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