The Oregon Consensus Initative

New Democracy donald at
Sat Feb 22 03:03:54 PST 1997

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - February 22 1997
Dear members of the Election Methods list,

     A few days ago I receiver on another list a letter about the Oregon
Consensus Initiative - copy repeated below. I have read and reread the post
and I fail to see any election reform presented. I fail to see any
improvement in democracy - on the contrary, I see less democracy.

     If this initiative passes it will be possible for a minority, but well
organized number of people to steal the primary and in turn steal the
General Election. A primary election only has about a twenty percent
turnout. It would be possible for a determined group to gain for their
candidate a simple majority of yes votes and to impose on every other
candidate a simple majority of No votes. These no vote candidates would not
be allowed to run in the General Election. In spite of all the hype in the
article this is not election reform - it is a play for power by somebody.

     If someone on this list can see more in this initiative than I can
see, please let us know what it is.

Thank You,

Donald Eric Davison of New Democracy at
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Date: Thu, 20 Feb 1997 18:48:46 -0800
From: Jack Alan Brown Jr <auto_doc at>
Organization: Politically Active Americans

Subject: consensus representation

Fellow American,
        The e-mail list with which you are involved indicate to me that you are
dissatisfied with the current election proceedures by which our public
servants are
selected.  The YES! PAC is determined to make electing your public servants
a positive
experience.  I thought you might find the following of interest, because it
is very
minor/third/mutliparty friendly.
Sincerely, Jack Alan Brown Jr

The following is an initiative filed for the State of Oregon, and for which
are being gathered for the 1998 November balllot:


            RESULTS OF "YES" VOTE:  "Yes" vote requires single primary
election ballot
with 50 percent "yes" vote to qualify candidates.

            RESULTS OF "NO" VOTE:   "No" vote retains present separate
primary ballots
for each major political party.

        SUMMARY:  Amends Constitution.  Existing law requires separate
primary ballot
for each major political party.  Measure requires single primary ballot
permitting vote
for or against candidate regardless of political party.  Candidates
receiving over 50
percent "Yes" votes appear on general election ballot and win general
election with
plurality.  Office barred to primary candidate with more than 50 percent
"No" votes.
Nominations by petition if no candidate qualifies in primary.  Candidates
not qualifying
in primary elected with simple majority.  Provides for write-in candidates
and runoff

 Yes for YES!
                                 by Jack Alan Brown Jr

        Our process for citizen expression at the polls has been evolving
for over two
centuries. The result has not been uniform throughout the several states.
In many
states you may vote "yes" or "no" on initiative and referendum measures and
on the
question of recalling someone already elected. There is at least one state
where you may
vote for "none-of-the-above," and more than one state where you may vote
"no" on
candidates for some or all offices. Currently you will find states with
open primaries,
closed primaries and some with no primaries at all! Some states have term
limits; others
do not.  Ask the average voter in most states if they have the perfect
system, and they
will undoubtedly say, "No!" We say, "It is time for a major overhaul of the
        We see disliked, but unopposed, incumbents reelected. We see
disliked incumbents
replaced by only slightly less disliked challengers. We frequently see disliked
incumbents renominated or elected in the Primary Election by the
establishment minority
because the opposing majority vote is splintered by multiple challengers.
We see the
General Election vote splintered by minor party candidates who are
attempting to satisfy
those disenfranchised in the Primary Election. Many people register with a
party even when they disagree with parts of its platform, just so that they
can have
some say about the choices in the General Election.
        What if you could vote "yes" or "no" on each candidate in the
Primary Election?
What if a candidate receiving more than 50% "no" was thereby barred from
office for that
term? What if all who received more than 50% "yes" were automatically
placed on the
General Election ballot? What if anyone else on the General Election ballot
could be
there only by nominating petition? What if it took a true majority
somewhere in the
process for anyone to be declared the winner?
        I'll tell you what: Disliked Sheriffs whose deputies would never
dare challenge
them in the Primary would be voted out. Disliked District Attorneys no
lawyer would dare
challenge in the Primary would be voted out. Disliked Judges no lawyer or
lower court
judge would dare challenge in the Primary would be voted out. Then
sheriff's deputies,
attorneys and lower court judges could run for those offices instead of
running against
their "bosses". And that is just the beginning!
        County Commissioners, State Legislators and Governors would not be
able to win
reelection by divide-and-conquer campaigning. They would have to please the
They couldn't alienate several distinct groups, each of which would field
challengers in
the primary to split their opposition vote. And that's not all, folks!
        Regardless of their party affiliation, people could vote in the
Primary for all
the candidates they thought would do a good job -- or they could reject
them all.  Even
though only one could win, when two good candidates were running for the
same job,  they
could both be affirmed by majorities.  Minority groups could show their
true feelings
without throwing the election to the one they disliked most.  Mud slinging
would no
longer win elections. Candidates could no longer persuade the voters to
vote against
their opponents by voting for them. They would have to campaign in a
positive way if
they wanted to win elections. Incumbents would have to run on their
records. Their
challengers would have to run on a genuine platform. Folks, that is the
best part about
a YES! vote system!
        Let us consider the mechanics of the YES! system. It is simplicity
to the core.
There are only a few basic, easily understood ingredients: The first
ingredient is that
each voter will have the opportunity to vote "yes" or "no" on each
candidate seeking an
office in the Primary Election. The second is that no candidate can be
elected to serve
in the office they seek, unless they ultimately receive a number of
favorable votes
equaling more than 50% of those voting. The third is that candidates
receiving a number
of "no" votes equaling more than 50% of those voting won't be able to serve
in that
office for that term.
        Voters will see the party affiliation of the candidates noted on
the Ballot
beside their names. Voters will be allowed to write-in the name of a person
qualified to
serve for each office being voted upon on both the Primary and General
Election Ballots.
 The candidate(s) receiving a majority of "yes" votes in the Primary
Election will
qualify to be candidate(s) on the General Election Ballot. Only a plurality
will be
necessary for one of those candidates approved in the Primary to win in the
Election. Each candidate receiving a majority of "no" votes in the Primary
Election will
be barred from the office for that term.
        What if all Primary Election candidates for a given office receive
a majority of
"no" votes in the Primary Election? Don't worry! There could still be new
candidates for
that office in the General Election. New candidates can file for placement
on the
General Election Ballot by circulating nominating petitions. They would
need to obtain a
number of voters' signatures equal to one-half of one percent of the total
registered in the district at the last primary election date, and a
majority vote in the
General Election would be necessary for one of these new candidates to win.
        If none of the candidates by petition receives a majority in the
Election, there will be a Run-off Election held twenty-eight days following
the General
Election. The two candidates receiving the highest numbers of votes in the
Election will be on the Ballot in that Run-off Election. The candidate
receiving the
majority in that election would be declared the winner of the office.
        Finally, if no candidate is elected by Ballot, a vacancy would
exist. That
vacancy would be filled according to the same procedure as when an
officeholder dies or
is recalled or resigns in the middle of a term of office, except that none
of the
Primary Election candidates for that office would be eligible for
appointment to fill
that type of vacancy.
        This initiative addresses the problems that people see in our
Primary Election
system today. Though this is not a moral or fiscal issue, it will have as
profound an
effect as any initiative ever proposed in this state. The struggle to
perfect it for the
ballot will be one of the most intense political battles of this era, as the
establishment that has manipulated and psychologically gerrymandered the
voters into
parties and fragmented movements begins to realize that this will destroy
its power.
        Oregonians will again stake out new ground in the continuing saga
of perfecting
democracy. You can be a part of something as revolutionary as the
initiative, referendum
and recall by supporting this initiative. This initiative even makes
provision for its
effortless repeal in the unlikely event that Oregon tries it and doesn't
like it.
        We in Oregon can take the lead, as we did at the turn of the
century on the
issues of initiative, referendum, and recall. We can adopt a system that
allows the
voters to develop a consensus regarding whom they want for public servants.
We can adopt
a system that will guarantee public servants have the approval of a true

        I propose to you the YES! Initiative:

        The YES! Initiative:

Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:

Article II, Section 16, of the current Oregon Constitution is hereby
repealed and
replaced by the following new Section 16:

Section 16. Election by majority, with 'consensus' primary process.  In
order to provide
an opportunity for the voters to express their approval or lack thereof for
available candidate and to develop a consensus on who should be their
public servants,
and in order to insure that no public servant is elected by a minority, the
process for
filling elective public offices in the State of Oregon shall be as follows:
        (1) In the primary election all candidates filed for elective
public office
shall be listed on a consolidated election ballot for the voters of the
district in
which they shall be elected.  The party affiliation or lack thereof shall
be indicated
beside each candidate's name.  Each line containing a candidate's name
shall be preceded
by a "Yes" box and a "No" box, so each voter may express his or her
approval or lack
thereof for each candidate.  In addition to voting for or against those
listed on the
ballot, provision shall be made on the primary election ballot for each
voter to write
in one personal choice for each open office, and such write-in votes shall
be considered
"Yes" votes.
        (2) All candidates on the primary election ballot receiving more
"Yes" votes
than 50% of the ballots cast in that district shall qualify to have their
names entered
on the general election ballot.  All candidates on the primary election
ballot receiving
more "No" votes than 50% of the ballots cast in that district shall be
barred from the
office sought for that term of office.  If no candidate in the primary
shall qualify for
the general election ballot for a particular office, any person(s)
otherwise qualified
for that particular office may file as candidate(s) for the general election by
nominating petition.  The minimum number of signatures required for
placement on the
general election ballot by nominating petition shall be equal to one-half
of one percent
of the total number of registered voters in the district at the last
primary election
date.  No filing fee shall be charged for such placement on that ballot.
candidates from the primary election shall not be barred from filing by
petition as candidates for the general election.  Provision shall be made
on the general
election ballot for writing in one personal choice by each individual voter
for each
open office.
        (3) A candidate having qualified in the primary for the general
election ballot
shall be declared winner upon receiving a plurality of the votes cast in
the general
election for a given office, but any candidate not having qualified in the
primary for
the general election ballot shall be declared winner only upon receiving a
majority of votes cast in the general election for a given office.  If no
election candidate for a given office shall satisfy either of the
requirements to be declared winner, then the two candidates receiving the
numbers of votes shall be listed on a run-off election ballot twenty-eight days
following the general election.  The candidate receiving the highest number
of votes in
that run-off election shall be declared winner of the office sought.  If no
election candidate shall qualify for the general election ballot, and no
candidate shall
file for the general election ballot, and no write-in candidate shall
emerge in  the
general election, the open office shall be filled in the same manner as
provided by law
for a vacancy due to the death, resignation or recall of an office holder,
subject to
the restrictions of subsection (2) above.
        (4) Subsequent to the adoption of the measure establishing this
wording for
Article II, Section 16, the above subsections (1), (2) and (3) shall be
referred by the
Legislative Assembly to the voters for their permanent approval at a
special election
falling not less than four months, and not more than seven months, after
the first
primary and general elections have been conducted under the authority of
this wording.
If said subsections (1), (2) and (3) are not approved by the voters of the
State of
Oregon at that special election, Article II, Section 16 shall be restored
to its prior
wording.  If said subsections (1), (2) and (3) are approved by the voters
at that
special election, subsection (4) of Article II, Section 16 shall be deleted.

Have questions?
Want to help?

Jack Alan Brown Jr    (541) 474-9343
Raymond Quiring    (541) 479-6741
Jaka M Okorn    (541) 863-7836

        We need assistance setting up a petition circulators' network
throughout the
state. We also need people contributing financially to the costs of producing
promotional literature and petitions for this initiative. Direct your
correspondence and
contributions to YES! PAC. (State law requires that we ask you to include
the name of
your employer or occupation with your contributions.)

authorized by:
YES! PAC  840 Rogue River Hwy, Suite #12  Grants Pass  OR 97527

        Should we be able to say "yes" or "no" to each candidate for any
public office,
regardless of our party affiliation or theirs? Should we be able to say
"no" to a
candidate running unopposed? Should we prevent minority candidate 'vote
splitting' from
electing someone else without a clear majority?
        If so, our Oregon Constitution needs to be amended so that we may
approve or
disapprove any and all candidates. The legislative intent of the YES!
initiative is to
make the following changes to our Oregon Constitution and our elective
process for
public officials:
        (1) All candidates for state or local offices to be voted on in a
given district
would appear on one consolidated ballot available to all voters in that
district in the
primary election.
        (2) All voters would have opportunity to say "yes" or "no" to each
candidate in
the primary election, as well as being able to write-in someone's name that
was not on
that ballot.
        (3) No candidate could serve in public office without first
receiving the
approval of the majority of the voters.
        We get to take this process for a test-drive for one election cycle
and then
automaticly vote again on it before it could be permanent!

(you may vote "yes" or "no" on each candidate)
YES     NO      candidate name  affiliation
                Candidate A             (A)
                Candidate B             (D)
                Candidate C             (D)
                Candidate D             (L)
                Candidate E             (O)
                Candidate F             (R)
                Candidate G             (R)
                Candidate H             (S)
                Candidate I             (Z)
                Candidate J             (Z)

A=American Party, D=Democrat Party, L=Libertarian Party, O=Other Party,
Party, S=Socialist Party, Z=Nonaffiliated

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