Secretary of State

paul damian wells photo

Paul Damian Wells

Occupation: Computer Architect

Occupational Background: Electrical Engineer

Educational Background: BSEE Purdue University; Portland State University

Prior Governmental Experience: None

I’m not a Democrat. I’m an Independent voter and Voting Rights Advocate. I’m a candidate in this private Democratic primary because it isn’t private. Everything needed to conduct this primary is heavily subsidized or paid for outright with public money.
I qualified as a Democratic candidate for this office by paying a $100 fee. I then paid a $1000 fee to have this statement distributed to approximately 1,500,000 homes statewide at taxpayer expense. As a Democrat I was not required to collect signatures to qualify as a candidate and assuming 10 cents printing/postage per item, this statement is worth $150,000. The election ballots are also printed and mailed at taxpayer expense, and county clerks tally the votes.
In contrast, Independent (non-affiliated) candidates for this same office are required to collect over 15,000 signatures to qualify as candidates. Even then, Independents are not allowed statements in the primary voters’ pamphlet. Oregon elections are based on a “separate but equal” doctrine: Democrats and Republicans are subsidized while signature requirements are imposed on Independents. For statewide partisan office, there are four separate candidate-qualification standards based on party affiliation.
We need a preliminary election to weed out candidates before the general election, but public elections must be open to all candidates and voters on an equal basis. A single nominating election where all candidates for each office compete regardless of party affiliation. All voters are allowed to participate and only the top two candidates for each office advance to the general election. Political parties may endorse candidates at private functions prior to this election, but these events must be conducted and financed by the political parties.
The Supreme Court will eventually strike down partisan elections in Oregon because basic civil rights are violated. We can’t have democracy without free elections and we don’t have free elections in Oregon.


(This information furnished by The Keel.)

Elections Division, Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722