Measure No. 53

Senate Joint Resolution27--Referred to the Electorate of Oregon by the 1997 Legislature to be voted on at the Biennial Primary Election, May 19, 1998.

BALLOT TITLE

53
AMENDS CONSTITUTION: ELIMINATES VOTER TURNOUT REQUIREMENT FOR PASSING CERTAIN PROPERTY TAX MEASURES
RESULT OF "YES" VOTE: "Yes" vote eliminates 50 percent voter turnout requirement for passage of certain property tax measures.
RESULT OF "NO" VOTE: "No" vote retains 50 percent voter turnout requirement for passage of certain property tax measures.
SUMMARY: Amends constitution. Ballot Measure 50, passed in 1997, allows passage of certain local property tax measures by majority vote only if: at least 50 percent of registered voters cast ballots; or measure is voted upon in a general election held in an even-numbered year. This measure would eliminate the 50 percent voter turnout requirement for all elections held on or after May 19, 1998. Thus, the measure would permit approval of local property tax measures by majority vote regardless of voter turnout.
ESTIMATE OF FINANCIAL IMPACT: Passage of Measure 53 will result in a direct reduction of annual local government expenditures in Oregon estimated at $175,000. The estimate is based on the assumption that at least one election occurs annually in each Oregon county requiring an eligibility review of 10 percent of a county's registered voters. Fewer elections or fewer challenged voters would reduce savings. More elections or more challenged voters would increase savings.

Be It Resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon:

PARAGRAPH 1. The Constitution of the State of Oregon is amended by creating a new section 11k to be added to and made a part of Article XI and to read:

SECTION 11k. Notwithstanding subsection (8) of section 11 of this Article, an election to which subsection (8) of section 11 of this Article applies that is held on or after May 19, 1998, shall authorize the matter upon which the election is held if the matter is approved by a majority of voters voting on the matter.

PARAGRAPH 2. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at a special election held throughout this state on the same date as the next biennial primary election.

NOTE: Boldfaced type indicates new language; [brackets and italic] type indicates deletions or comments.

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Measure 53 was referred to voters by the state legislature. Measure 53 repeals a provision of Measure 50, a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 1997. That provision requires a minimum of 50 percent voter turnout in elections to approve certain measures which would increase property taxes.

Under the recently enacted Measure 50, now current law, certain measures to increase property taxes can only be approved if both of the following requirements are met:

(1) At least 50 percent of registered voters eligible to vote in the election cast a ballot; and

(2) A majority of voters voting on the question vote "Yes."

The 50 percent voter turnout requirement is not required for measures appearing on the ballot in the general election held in November of an even numbered year. However, for all elections other than a general election, the Oregon Constitution currently requires both a 50 percent voter turnout and a majority of voters voting "Yes" to approve a measure which does any of the following:

- Imposes temporary local option property taxes in excess of a district's permanent rate limit.

- Incurs bonded indebtedness, the principal and interest of which is to be paid by property taxes that are not subject to the permanent rate limit or other limitation under section 11 or 11b, Article XI of the Oregon Constitution.

- Establishes a permanent rate limit for operating taxes for the district if the affected district has not previously imposed ad valorem property taxes.

- Amends a local government charter to permit increased tax levies for local government pension and disability plan obligations.

Measure 53 would eliminate the 50 percent voter turnout requirement for all elections held on or after May 19, 1998. If Measure 53 passes, any measure which would increase property taxes in a manner described above could be approved by a majority of voters voting in the election, without regard to the percentage of eligible voters who participate in the election.
Committee Members:Appointed by:
Senator Randy MillerPresident of the Senate
Representative Mike LehmanSpeaker of the House
Senator Gene DerflerSecretary of State
Bill SizemoreSecretary of State
Kathleen BeaufaitSecretary of State

(This committee was appointed to provide an impartial explanation of the ballot measure pursuant to ORS 251.215.)

LEGISLATIVE ARGUMENT IN SUPPORT

Restore the value of voting--the most basic democratic
principle--by voting "yes" on Ballot Measure 53.

Voting "yes" on this measure removes the confusing and troublesome double majority requirement placed in the Oregon Constitution by Ballot Measure 47 in 1996.

Since the passage of the double majority requirement, Oregon has already seen some confusing election results. In the March 1997 election, there were at least 12 local levies and bonds that received the approval of those who voted, but failed because turnout was less than 50%. We believe this degrades the value of voting and rewards those who don't participate.

The double majority is an offense to the principles of democracy.

It allows an election to be determined by nonparticipants. By not casting a ballot, a person is able to register a "no" vote. In a democracy, issues should be decided by those who participate in the election, not by those who choose not to be involved.

Oregonians voted down a super majority.

More than 88% of voters opposed Ballot Measure 46 in 1996. That measure would have imposed a similar super majority requirement. Oregonians believe that the voice of a majority should prevail.

The double majority is impractical and expensive.

County clerks routinely verify the eligibility of voters, but the double majority requirement effectively requires them to also verify the eligibility of those who don't vote. This has caused confusion and resulted in costly court challenges. Voter rolls are often inaccurate due to deaths, relocations, name changes, and limitations imposed by federal law.

Return the value of voting!

Vote "yes" on Ballot Measure 53 and restore common sense to our Constitution. Those who choose not to get involved or who are ineligible to vote should not have the power to determine election results.

Committee Members: Appointed by:
Senator Randy MillerPresident of the Senate
Representative Lee BeyerSpeaker of the House
Representative Mike LehmanSpeaker of the House

(This Joint Legislative Committee was appointed to provide the legislative argument in support of the ballot measure pursuant to ORS 251.245.)

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Should citizens be required to determine a voter's eligibility?

In March 1997, voters in the North Clackamas School District made heroic efforts to assure that this community would be prepared to meet our facilities needs for the next 15-20 years. With a 58 percent winning margin, and a 46 percent turnout, school supporters said clearly they were willing to pay for school construction. In spite of support at historically high numbers, the results didn't meet the requirements of current law. A decision was made to challenge the accuracy of the voter rolls.

Volunteers began a long campaign to verify voter eligibility. They visited 18,000 homes and gathered information about 28,000 voters. They found people:

* registered as living in a post office box or business;

* who had moved permanently out of state;

* who had moved permanently, but all their mail, including ballots, was being forwarded;

* who had died.

In essence they found a significant number of people who did not meet the legal requirement of being eligible to vote in the March election.

The battle continues today, a year later, with the outcome uncertain. But these things we know:

* currently, non-voters, including those who are dead, have more influence than those that vote;

* as many as 3500 more people could have voted no, the double majority requirement would have been met, and the measure would still have passed;

* the voter rolls are not accurate. There is no standard in place to assure that they will be;

* the cost to the District has been high. Instead of helping children in the classroom, volunteers have spent the last year trying to prove an unreasonable requirement;

* construction costs have risen. Even if we win, the money raised is likely to be less than what we need.

Remove the double majority. Let those that vote be the ones who count. Vote yes on Measure 53.

(This information furnished by Joan N. Smith, Citizens in Support of NC#12.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

The quality of our children's future rests with the ability of the adults around them to make actively concerned and thoughtful decisions on their behalf today.

The Oregon PTA Board of Directors supports and endorses Ballot Measure 53.

This board previously opposed Ballot Measure 46 (Nov. 1996), which would have required that 50 percent of registered voters participate in an election to pass a local tax levy. You may recall that Measure 46 failed overwhelmingly at the polls - the Oregon populace was appalled at the notion of "dead men" voting. Unfortunately, this unreasonable standard was also part of Measure 50 (passed in May 1997), and is currently law.

The 50 percent voter participation requirement goes against the basic principles of democracy. We ask those of you who agree to come forward and vote for Measure 53.

In addition to the impact this requirement has had on our schools, we are concerned about all issues that impact basic livability for our children in this state. The ability of a local community to determine its own needs and take action is critical to the very fabric of our lives. Whether the issue is related to schools, police or fire services, libraries, or sewers, those who care, become involved, become educated, and then vote should make decisions; not those who choose not to participate. Those who choose not to get involved or who are ineligible to vote should not have the power to determine election results.

We believe Oregon's voters will endorse this measure when they understand that in addition to verifying the eligibility of voters, county clerks must now verify the eligibility of those who do not vote. According to the financial impact statement prepared by the Secretary of State's office, passage of ballot measure 53 will save Oregon's taxpayers $175,000 per year.

Use your ability to make concerned, thoughtful decisions and vote YES on Measure 53: Oregon's children deserve no less.

(This information furnished by Dian Anderson, President, and Kathryn Firestone, Vice President, Oregon PTA))


(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argumen.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Is it FAIR that a person who doesn't vote has more impact on an election than a person who casts a ballot?
Is it FAIR that people who don't vote can override the decision of those who do vote?
Is it FAIR that thousands upon thousands of your tax dollars be spent to find out that voters still live where they say they live?

Those of us whom you have elected and chosen to oversee your elections don't think any of these things are fair, yet they are exactly what is happening in Oregon under the current law.

We encourage you to vote YES on Measure 53 and do away with these unfair influences on your elections.

If a double majority requirement is good policy, then we need a good law that will work. The current law is impossible to administer fairly and accurately. We think Oregonians deserve better.

We are Oregon's County Clerks and Directors of Elections and we urge you to vote Yes on Measure 53.

Oregon Election Officials Committee

(This information furnished by Al Davidson, Oregon Election Officials Committee)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)

The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT AGAIN: VOTE YES ON MEASURE 53

When voting on Measure 53, Oregon's special service districts ask that you consider the following questions:

Do you believe a person who no longer lives in your district or community should have a vote on your services?

Do you believe a deceased person should count as a vote under any circumstances?

Do you support the court system determining election results sometimes months or years after the actual vote?

If you believe as we do that the answer to the above questions should be a resounding no, then we ask you to vote yes on Measure 53. This is our opportunity to correct a flaw in Ballot Measure 50, which requires a double majority vote on many elections. The idea sounded great: we should have a majority of registered voters determine money measures, but in execution is was seriously flawed. The fact is that with Oregon's very open voter registration process, and with federal "motor voter" laws, thousands of people are registered to vote who have little or no intention of participating in the election process. Worse, those who don't vote are counted as "no" votes! Any errors in voter lists are subject to court challenges which can delay election results for weeks or months.

As special districts we pride ourselves on being responsive to voters, but with the current laws it is difficult to know who the voters are and what their true will is.

In November, 1996 Oregonians, by an overwhelming 88%, rejected the double majority requirement. A YES vote on Ballot Measure 53 will repeal this ill conceived idea and allow your vote to fully count on all elections. Oregon's fire, water, sanitary, irrigation, port, park & recreation, 911, library and other districts urge your YES vote.

Duane Robinson, President Special Districts Association of Oregon

(This information furnished by Duane Robinson, President, Special Districts Association of Oregon.)


(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Our organization, "For Restoring Oregon's Governmental Services," (F.R.O.G.S.) strongly supports the passage of Measure 53, the repeal of the "DOUBLE MAJORITY RULE" for local special elections. We believe it is necessary to restore full democracy to our elections process.

We campaigned at the legislature to help pass this referral to the voters for a clean decision on whether or not Oregon's voters wanted to maintain this restrictive policy. This provision was, in effect, hidden within the total texts of Measures 47 and 50.

For 200 years Americans have made decisions by popular vote. Now in Oregon this "DOUBLE MAJORITY RULE" gives strong power to those who do not bother to vote. This strange constitutional provision has the effect of allowing voters who have moved away or died to have a role in determining the results of local special elections.

Several local elections in 1997 received a majority of votes cast, but failed to reach the 50% plus one tally of registered voters. We recognize that registration procedures do not have the instant capability to adjust to accurate figures. This results in a fictitious "registered voter total" which can prevent the majority of actual voters from prevailing!

Let's protect our Oregon tradition of one person, one vote! Those who actually vote are the ones who have always determined the outcome of elections in Oregon. Let us return to this great tradition of our proud past. One person, one vote!

We recommend you vote "YES!" on Measure 53!

Board of Directors, F.R.O.G.S.
Bob Davis, Chair
Herbert Duane Mohn, Treasurer
Joe W. Walker, Director

(This information furnished by Bob Davis, For Restoring Oregon's Governmental Services (F.R.O.G.S.).)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

From the desk of Governor John A. Kitzhaber, M.D.

To Oregon Voters:

Communities all across our state need our help.

When a local community wants to expand its library, or when your child's school district needs to build a new elementary school, voters are asked to pass a bond measure to help solve the problem. Concerned voters, like you, carefully weigh the pros and cons of the issue and then vote accordingly.

Well, that's the way it used to work. The "double majority" law passed in 1996 gives more power to the nonvoter than to an informed and active participant like you.

Requiring the "double majority" takes the decision our of your hands and gives it to those individuals whom chose not to participate and even to those who have died or moved away.

That's not fair.

That is why I am asking you to support Ballot Measure 53. This measure will repeal the "double majority" and give the power back to you.

Help keep Oregon a great place to live. Vote Yes on Ballot Measure 53. It just makes sense.

Sincerely

John A. Kitzhaber

(This information furnished by John Kitzhaber.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

As Secretary of State and Oregon's chief elections officer, this is the first time I've submitted a Voter's Pamphlet statement on any issue.

I feel that strongly about the importance of passing Ballot Measure 53.

Measure 53 would repeal a little-noticed provision of the Oregon Constitution that was originally enacted in 1996 as part of a $1 billion cut in property taxes.

This provision allows non-voters to actually overturn certain decisions made by voting citizens ­ even in cases where an overwhelming majority votes in favor. In some elections, a perverse opposition campaign might actually urge citizens not to vote at all as the best strategy to defeat a measure.

I strongly believe this provision violates basic standards of common sense andfairness ­ and threatens our most fundamental democratic principles.

"Majority rule" is a basic principle of self-government. So, too, is the notion that one must actually cast a ballot to have a say in an election.

For most of our history, Oregonians have been well served by these basic rules. Passage of Measure 53 would restore them ­ and prevent their continued erosion.

I know that opponents of Measure 53 will argue that this provision is important to help keep property taxes down.

But there are more direct ways to limit property taxes, consistent with democratic principles of self-government. Besides, where does such an argument end? Should all land-use and zoning issues also require a "double majority?" Health and safety measures? Adding ­ or reducing ­ environmental regulations?

There will always be those who believe their particular cause is so important that it justifies rigging the basic rules of the democratic process ­ and who argue "the ends justify the means."

Fortunately, Oregonians have the chance to stand up for fair play and democracy by voting "YES" on Measure 53.

(This information furnished by Secretary of State Phil Keisling.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

VOTE YES ON BALLOT MEASURE 53

Two years ago I asked you to vote against Ballot Measure 46 because it would undermine one of the basic principles of democracy ­ that a majority of those who vote make the decisions. I was pleased to find out after the election that 88% of Oregon's voters did vote against this measure. Unfortunately, the supporters of this idea thought they knew better than you did and hid this same idea in another ballot measure that passed.

Now I'm forced to come back to you and ask that we all do the right thing for the state, again. By repealing the "double majority" law, we will avoid any situation that would bring into serious question the integrity of Oregon's election process. For example:

* Letting people who don't take the trouble to learn about the issues and vote to have as much to say about an issue as the people who do vote.

* Counting as a "NO" vote people who could not vote because of a crisis at work or a family emergency.

* Allowing deceased people and people who move away to determine the outcome of an election.

As your State Treasurer I also have a serious concern regarding Oregon's finances and our ability to borrow money at a reasonable cost to finance construction of schools, hospitals, roads and prisons. Keeping the "double majority" law endangers our excellent bond rating.

Let's join together and vote to get rid of this dangerous law!

(This information furnished by State Treasurer Jim Hill.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

"Double Majority?" Since when do we need a "double majority?"

Until two years ago, the majority of people who voted yes or no in an election decided the outcome. With the "double majority" requirement for local finance measures, an issue must not only win 50 percent of the vote, but must also be voted on by 50 percent of the registered voters in the community. This goes against one of our basic principles of democracy, giving those who choose NOT to vote the power to invalidate the outcome of elections.

Power is taken from voters who participate in elections and
transferred to those who choose not to vote.

In some instances, the "double majority" requirement can give dead voters a vote. County clerks can't purge voter rolls every day or every month, but do so at regular intervals. In between purges, voters die and move away but they are still on the voter rolls. Under these circumstances they are still counted as registered voters towards the 50% threshold. North Clackamas School District has run into this problem of inflated voter rolls, undermining the passage of its school bond measure. Similar situations will undoubtedly result in the future should the "double majority" stand.

As your State Superintendent of Public Instruction, I urge you to join me in voting "YES" on Ballot Measure 53. We must send a clear message that we believe in democracy and the power of participants in the process.

(This information furnished by Superintendent of Public Instruction Norma Paulus.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Oregon's Teachers Believe in Fair Elections
Vote YES on Ballot Measure 53

Elections Should Be Determined By Those Who Vote

In every public school in Oregon, students are taught the value of a vote and the importance of democracy. Yet, in a recent election, Oregon's Constitution was altered by special interests who added some "fine print" to a tax measure which passed by a small margin. Because of this "fine print," Oregon's Constitution now allows those who don't participate in an election to be counted as a "no" vote. People who are registered to vote, but don't; and those who have died but haven't yet been removed from Oregon's voter registration lists; still count as a "no" on some tax measures. This is a difficult lesson for our students to understand. We agree.

Active and Informed Voters Should Decide Elections

When a local community needs to pass a bond measure to build a new school, add a few classrooms or provide something else for local children, those people who vote on election day should make the decision. Those who don't vote, or those who are still on voter rolls but have moved away or died, shouldn't be counted. It's only fair.

Vote YES on Measure 53 to REPEAL Bad Public Policy

The "Dead Man Voting" concept is wrong for Oregonians. It's wrong for democracy. It's the wrong lesson for Oregon's children. And, it's wrong for Oregon's Constitution. Please join Oregon's teachers and other educators in voting YES on Measure 53. Repeal Bad Public Policy.

James K. Sager, president
Oregon Education Association

(This information furnished by James K. Sager, President, Oregon Education Association.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Two years ago Oregonians were asked if they wanted to allow people who did not vote in an election to determine the outcome of that election. This question was asked two different ways on separate ballots at the same election.

* On one ballot we were asked very simply and clearly if we wanted non-voters determining the outcome of elections. When asked directly, 88% of us very loudly answered that we did not want this policy.

* On the other ballot the question of non-voters determining the outcome of elections was buried within a very lengthy ballot measure dealing with property taxes, not voting procedures. The property tax measure passed, and so did the buried provision that allows non-voters to determine the outcome of an election.

I believe that 88% of Oregon voters still feel strongly that those voters who take the time to study an issue and vote should be the only citizens who determine the outcome of an election. This is why I asked the Legislature to place this measure on the ballot. The question is simple and clear and a "YES" vote will stop non-voters from determining the outcome of elections.

Based on a personal experience, I am concerned how the "double majority" law impacts Oregonians serving in our military. These citizens make a significant effort to obtain an absentee ballot, study the issues and vote while defending our way of life. Imagine how they feel when they learn their vote did not mean anything because the election was actually determined by voters at home who did not vote.

This issue is very serious for all of us. Why? Because the foundation of our democratic way of life is being discredited in the minds of Oregonians who have always believed that decisions made by a majority of voters should be the law. Under the "double majority" law a majority vote of the people voting no longer determines the outcome of an election.

(This information furnished by State Senator Randy Miller, R­Lake Oswego.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

We must do away with the "double majority" and reaffirm the value of voting in the state of Oregon.

Ballot Measure 53 will amend Oregon's Constitution by repealing the "double majority" clause passed in 1996 as a part of Measure 47. Since then, Measure 47 has been rewritten and approved by the voters as Measure 50. The legislature chose to include the "double majority" requirement in Measure 50 with the understanding that the issue would be returned to the voters. It is you, thevoters, who should be deciding this issue. Is there any question that the majority should decide important issues such as this one? For me the choice is clear, the majority rules in a democracy regardless of the specific issue being voted on.

In addition to being just plain undemocratic, the "double majority" is impossible to enforce with any accuracy. The voter rolls in Oregon are not up to date. Many deceased citizens could still be counted as registered voters. Countless others move out of precincts and for whatever reason, their names are not removed. Under the "double majority," overestimating the number of registered voters can cause a measure to fail even though it wins a majority of the votes cast.

We can not continue to let non-voters who have no intention of voting determine elections. The "double majority" takes power from concerned, active, voting citizens and transfers it to those who are not concerned enough to vote.

Who decides societal questions in a democracy? The voters do, and more specifically the majority. The answer is clear. We believe the votes that are cast are the ones that should count. I urge you to join us in voting "yes" on Ballot Measure 53.

(This information furnished by Bob Shiprack, Oregonians to Maintain Community Standards.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Only two years ago Oregonians were asked if they wanted to allow people who did not vote in an election to determine the outcome of that election. This question was asked two different ways on separate ballots at the same election. The results were spilt.

In 1996, Ballot Measure 46 asked very simply and clearly if Oregonians wanted non-voters determining the outcome of elections. When asked directly, Oregonians answered sternly by an 88% to 12% margin that they did not want this requirement added to the Oregon Constitution.

Again in 1996, Ballot Measure 47 asked the question of non-voters determining the outcome of elections. However, this time the question was buried within a very lengthy ballot measure dealing with property taxes, not voting procedures. As you know, the property tax measure passed, and so did the buried provision that allows non-voters to determine the outcome of an election.

It is clear to me that an overwhelming majority of Oregonians, when asked directly, do not support this notion of a "double majority." I agree with those Oregonians who do not want to reward those citizens who choose not to vote. These voters, by not participating, essentially have as much voting power as concerned, informed and motivated voters do.

Join me in protecting the value of voting. Vote Yes on Ballot Measure 53.

(This information furnished by Representative Bob Montgomery.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Restore the value of voting ­ the most
basic democratic principal
Vote YES on Ballot Measure 53

Voting yes on this measure removes the confusing and troublesome "double majority" requirement placed in the Oregon Constitution by Ballot Measure 47 in 1996.

Since passing, the "double majority" provision has already produced some confusing election results. In the March 1997 election, there were at least 12 local levies and bonds that received the approval of those who voted, but failed because turnout was less than 50%. We believe this degrades the value of voting and rewards those who don't participate.

The "double majority" is an offense
to the principles of democracy

It allows an election to be determined by non-participants. By not casting a ballot, a person has more power than does someone who actively participates in the system. In a democracy those who participate in the process should decide issues, rather than those who chose to not be involved.

Oregonians don't want a super majority

More than 88% of voters opposed Ballot Measure 46 in 1996. That measure would have imposed a similar "super majority" requirement. Oregonians overwhelmingly believe that the voice of the majority should prevail.

The double majority is impractical and expensive

County clerks routinely verify the eligibility of voters, but the "double majority" provision effectively requires them to also verify the eligibility of those who don't vote. This has caused confusion and resulted in costly court challenges. Voter rolls are often inaccurate due to deaths, relocations, name changes and limitations imposed by federal law.

Return the value of voting!

Vote YES on Ballot Measure 53 and restore common sense to our constitution. Those who choose not to get involved or who are ineligible to vote should not have the power to determine election results.

(This information furnished by State Senator Kate Brown, D­Portland and State Representative Lee Beyer, R­Springfield.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN OPPOSITION

RICHARD BURKE SUPPORTS A "NO" VOTE
ON BALLOT MEASURE 53
For more information, call 503-531-8976

Vote "NO" to Protect the Stability of Our Communities

Tax proposals place a burden on working Oregonians to vote "no" in order to protect their income and property from taxation. This burden should be shared by tax proponents by forcing them to get broad support for new taxes.

Opponents of the 50/50 rule object that taxpayers can potentially defeat tax proposals by simply not voting. Some say that non-voters deserve what they get. But are taxes passed in low-turnout elections worth the public resentment they build against our community institutions? The 50/50 rule ensures that any tax passed in a special election will enjoy broad support. In a nation where a majority can extract wealth from a minority, the 50/50 rule contributes to the long term stability of our communities.

Vote "NO" to Protect the Democratic Process

School, park and other tax-levying districts enjoy unfair advantages when proposed taxes are placed on special election ballots. First, they use your money to pay for so-called "informational mailings." Ostensibly meant to inform voters about a district's needs, these mailings are often nothing more than thinly veiled campaign ads. Second, they use your money to pay the salaries of "public relations" personnel. During bond levy elections, these people spend a lot of time effectively campaigning for whatever tax is on the ballot.

Tax proponents using these advantages try to mobilize voters in areas known to support taxation. They ignore other areas while hoping for a low voter turnout. This cynical strategy erodes the fabric of our democratic process. Voter apathy is a problem that should not be capitalized upon. The 50/50 rule, while not addressing all the advantages enjoyed by tax proponents, at least ensures that tax proponents will actively make their case to all of us.

(This information furnished by Richard Burke, Libertarian candidate for governor.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN OPPOSITION

The Libertarian Party of Oregon opposes Measure 53.

50/50 is a Reasonable Limit on Government Power

Limited government is an American ideal. We know that just because a small number of voters think that something is a good idea, that doesn't mean that we are justified in forcing it on everyone. If we are going to force our neighbors to pay more money to the government, then it is only fair to expect real voter support, and the burden of effort should lie with the supporters of the tax increase. If it's important enough, then voters will support it. But if an election can't muster a 50 percent turnout, we have to wonder just how important the issue was.

50/50 Keeps Elections Honest

Too frequently, supporters of tax increases have counted on poorly advertised, poorly attended special elections in order to get their pet projects funded. They know that when voter turnout is good, their chances of getting the tax increase passed aren't good. The 50/50 requirement makes sure that nothing is sneaked past taxpayers.

50/50 Reduces Voters' Government Burden

Proponents of Measure 53 say it's not fair for people who sit at home and don't vote to control the results of elections. We say that's backwards. It is un-American to compel voters to take an action just to protect their property. And yet that is exactly what the proponents of Measure 53 are asking. In order to protect your money, you must vote.

The State Legislature Thinks We Don't Understand ... Again!

Once again, the legislature doesn't think that we knew what we were voting on when we passed Measure 47/50. Aren't you tired of the legislature assuming that you don't understand the ballot measures you pass?

Limited government, real voter support, preserving the value of elections, and protecting our right to be left alone. All of these points are good reasons to keep the 50/50 requirement.

VOTE NO ON MEASURE 53!

(This information furnished by David L. Vessell, Communications Director, Libertarian Party of Oregon.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

ARGUMENT IN OPPOSITION

MEASURE 53 SUBVERTS MAJORITY RULE

For decades now, city councils, county commissions, and school boards, as a matter of political strategy, have been placing their tax increase measures on the ballot in small, special elections. Why small, special elections? Because elected officials figured out long ago that it is much easier to pass measures to increase taxes, if they put them on the ballot when they know very few voters will actually vote.

In other words, politicians have devised a strategy to pass tax increases that the majority of voters do not support. This strategy is designed specifically to subvert majority rule; to allow a small minority of voters to increase taxes on everyone else.

In fact, in almost every case, the politicians who place these tax proposals on the ballot in small, special elections know well in advance that they intend to ask voters for more money, and pass up the opportunity to place their tax increase measures on the ballot in regularly scheduled general elections when voter turnout is much higher. Why? Because their goal is not to find out the will of the voters. Their goal is to get more money. Period.

This is not democracy. This is not majority rule. This is rather a strategy for subverting the will of the majority.

Twice now, Oregon voters have approved measures prohibiting property tax increases unless at least 50 percent of the voters vote in the election. Twice the voters have spoken. But the legislature is not willing to accept the will of the voters. Measure 53 is an attempt by politicians in Salem to make it easier to pass tax increases that are not supported by the majority of voters.

Let's tell the state legislature one more time that we do not want huge tax increases passed in small special elections when no one shows up. Maybe this time they will listen.

VOTE "NO" ON MEASURE 53

(This information furnished by Bill Sizemore, Executive Director, Oregon Taxpayers United.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.)

ARGUMENT IN OPPOSITION

KEEP THE 50 PERCENT VOTER TURNOUT REQUIREMENT

The state legislature wants to eliminate the main protection taxpayers have against governments that try to sneak tax increases through by putting them on the ballot over and over again, until they finally pass in some small election with very low voter turnout.

Measure 53 is an attempt by the legislature to give back to tax and spend politicians their secret weapon: the ability to place huge tax increases on the ballot in small elections that hardly anyone knows are being held.

Remember when you used to read in the newspaper about some tax measure passing, and wonder how in the world it passed when everyone you know says they didn't vote for the increase, and you know for sure you didn't vote for it either?

How did that happen? How did a tax measure pass when most voters didn't vote for it? Easy. Here's how it worked:

If a special election was held, and only 30 percent of the voters went to the polls, a tax could be increased by less than 16 percent of the total registered voters. In other words, the tax increase was not supported by 84 percent of the people, yet still passed because of low voter turnout. That's why politicians almost always placed their tax increases on the ballot in small, special elections. They knew they could pass tax increases that most voters opposed.

In 1996, Oregon voters brought that to an end. They passed a measure requiring at least a 50 percent voter turnout to increase property taxes. Now, the legislature wants to go back to the way things were before 1996. Don't be fooled.

Eliminating the 50 percent voter turnout requirement could cost Oregon taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year in higher property taxes. Vote "No" on Measure 53. Don't eliminate the 50 percent voter turnout. It's an important safeguard for taxpayers.

(This information furnished by Patti Milne.)



(This space purchased for $300 in accordance with ORS 251.255.)
The printing of this argument does not constitute an endorsement by the State of Oregon, nor does the state warrant the accuracy or truth of any statement made in the argument.

Table of Contents