Copy of the Oregon Inititative

New Democracy donald at
Fri Sep 5 04:43:06 PDT 1997

Dear Election Methods List members,

     What follows is the Oregon Initiative.

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      P R O P O S E D   C O N S T I T U T I O N A L   A M E N D M E N T


[1] Proportional Representation elections increase voter participation. Our
current winner-take-all election system results in lower voter turnout; and

[2] Proportional Representation promotes elections based on issues and
party platforms. Winner-take-all elections result in issueless campaigns
where negative advertising and media images displace debate on substantive
issues; and

[3] Proportional Representation increases representation of historically
under-represented segments of the population such as women and ethnic
groups. Winner-take-all elections consistently under-represent these
groups; and

[4] Proportional Representation offers voters a wider choice of political
points of view, promotes substantive debate by all political parties, and
results in an electorate casting more informed votes. Winner-take-all
elections often result in voters being given a limited choice of candidates
who do not represent their views and values; and

[5] Winner-take-all elections can create artificial majorities. Parties
which win less than 50% of the vote can receive more than 50% of the seats
in the legislature through gerrymandering of voting districts to favor the
parties in power; and

[6] The goal of Proportional Representation is to ensure representation for
every vote cast. Under the current winner-take-all election system, in a
three-way election, up to 66% of the voters in a district will not be
represented by the elected legislator; and

[7] Proportional Representation is the voting system used by most of the
world's major democracies including: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Australia,
New Zealand, Holland, Finland, Norway, Spain, Brazil, Iceland, Belgium,
Poland, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Switzerland, Venezuela and Japan; and

[8] Increasing numbers of Oregonians are registered as independent voters,
or are affiliated with a political party other than the Republicans or
Democrats. These voters currently have no representation. Proportional
Representation is the only practical means of breaking the current two
party monopoly of our government and providing representation to all
Oregonians; and

[9] The People of Oregon, through the democratic initiative process, have
already adopted Proportional Representation as a method for electing the
Legislature, in Section 16, Article II, of the Oregon Constitution; and

[10] Section 1, Article I, of the Oregon Constitution provides,
unequivocally, the right to reform state government, and Section 1, Article
II, of Oregon Constitution, provides for free and equal elections; now,

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

PARAGRAPH 1. The Constitution of the State of Oregon is amended by creating
a new section 16a to be added to and made part of Article II, and section
19, Articel II; section 3, Article IV; and section 6, Article IV, are
amended, and to read:

SECTION 16a. House of Representatives elected by proportional representation.

     1) The Oregon House of Representatives shall be elected by
proportional representation.

     2) There shall be sixty members of the Oregon House of Representatives.

     3) General election ballots for the Oregon House of Representatives
shall enable each voter to vote for the political party or an independent
candidate of their choice. Each political party shall be represented on the
ballot by a slate of candidates and alternates known as the party list.

     4) Each party shall establish its party list no later than 90 days
prior to the general election by a primary, convention or other candidate
selection process to be established by each individual party. Each party
shall submit one party list per general election. A party list may contain
up to sixty candidates and any number of alternates to fill positions
vacated by candidates. Each party shall rank its candidates and alternates
on its party list in order of preference.

     5) The total number of valid votes cast in a House election shall be
divided by sixty, the number of seats to be filled. That result is the
initial threshold. Each party or independent candidate not receiving votes
equal to or exceeding the initial threshold shall not be awarded any seats,
and the votes for these parties and candidates shall be eliminated from
further consideration. Each independent candidate receiving a number of
votes equal to or exceeding the initial threshold shall be allocated one
seat, and the votes for each of these candidates shall be eliminated from
further consideration. The party seat allocation threshold shall then be
established by dividing the total number of valid votes cast for parties
which equaled or exceeded the initial threshold by the number of seats
remaining to be filled after seats have been allocated to independent

     6) Party seat allocation shall be determined by the Largest Remainder
Formula. The total number of valid votes cast for each remaining party
shall be divided by the party seat allocation threshold to determine the
initial number of seats to be awarded each party. Each party shall then be
awarded the greatest whole number of seats determined by the party
allocation threshold. Valid votes cast for each party which do not result
in whole numbers when divided by the seat allocation threshold are
considered remainder votes. Remainder votes will be used for allocating
remaining unfilled seats, if any exist. The process shall begin by awarding
one seat to the party with the highest number of remainder votes and shall
continue, if necessary, by awarding one seat to each successive party, in
descending order of remainder votes, until all seats are filled.

     7) After the number of seats won by each party has been determined,
the seats shall be filled from each party's list beginning with the first
candidate and moving, in descending order, until all seats allocated to
that party have been filled. At no time may a party re-order its party list
after its primary, convention or other candidate selection process except
in the event of death or withdrawal of a candidate or alternate from the
party list. If such an event occurs, the vacancy shall be filled by the
candidate or alternate next in line on the party list.

     9) A vacancy in the office of an independent candidate shall be filled
by the following process:
     a) The Governor shall submit a list of not fewer than three candidates
to the House of Representatives for consideration.
     b) The House shall elect a Representative from the list of
gubernatorial candidates by preference voting. Each Representative shall
cast a vote for each candidate in order of preference. A candidate
receiving more than fifty percent of the first preference votes shall be
elected. If no candidate receives more than fifty percent of the first
preference votes, the candidate with the least number of first preference
votes is eliminated from consideration and that candidate's votes are
transferred to the candidates disignated on the eliminated candidate's
ballots as second preferences. This process of ballot transfers continues
until one candidate receives more than fifty percent of the vote.

Sec. 19, Art.II.
(2) No person shall serve more than eight years in each Oregon statewide
office in his or her lifetime. Election to the House of Representatives
shall not constitute election to a statewide office.

Sec. 3, Art.IV. How Senators [and Representatives] are chosen; filling
The senators [and representatives] shall be chosen by the electors of the
respective counties or districts or subdisricts within a county or district
into which the state may from time to time, for senatorial districts only,
be divided by law. If a vacancy in the office of senator [or
representative] from any county or district or subdistrict shall occur,
such vacancy shall be filled as may be provided by law.

Sec. 6, Art. IV.
(1) At the regular session of the Legislative Assembly next following an
enumeration of the inhabitants by the United States Government, the number
of Senators [and representatives] shall be fixed by law and apportioned
among legislative districts according to population. [A senatorial district
shall consist of two representative districts.] There shall be one
representative district, consisting of the entire population and land area
of the State of Oregon, which shall elect the entire House of
Representatives by proportional representation. The House of
Representatives shall contain twice as many members as the Senate. Any
senator whose term continues through the next regular legislative session
after the effective date of the reapportionment shall be specifically
assigned to a senatorial district. The ratio of Senators [and
Representaties, respectively,] to population shall be determined by
dividing the total population of the state by the number of Senators [and
by the number of Representatives]. A reapportionment by the Legislative
Assembly for senatorial districts only, shall become operative no sooner
than September 1 of the year of reapportionment. Senate districts shall
remain at their current size and location until and unless reapportionment
is necessary under this section. Reapportionment of the single, statewide
representative voting district shall be conducted solely by constitutional

(1) This measure shall become effective and implementation shall begin
thirty days after the day on which it is apporved. The House of
Represenatives shall be elected by proportional representation at the
general election immediately following approval.

(2) If any part of this amendment is found to be invalid or
unconstitutional, the remaining provisions shall not be affected.
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