Measure 31

Legislative Argument in Support

Ballot Measure 31 updates Oregon law to protect the right of the people of Oregon to determine by election the positions of Governor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Attorney General, State Senator and State Representative. The Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 552 during the 2003 session to provide for a major political party to replace its nominee during the general election if the nominee of that party dies within 30 days of a general election.

Ballot Measure 31 makes the constitutional change necessary to allow Senate Bill 552 to take effect.

Under current law, if a deceased candidate receives the highest number of votes, either the incumbent holding the office remains until a successor is elected or a vacancy in the office results. For most public offices, vacancies are filled by appointment.

Recently, candidates in other states have died shortly before general elections. Those states have had procedures in place to allow elections to continue. Oregon currently has no procedures in place to postpone the vote-by-mail election for that office in such a situation. Ballot Measure 31 provides authority for a special election to be conducted to allow a replacement candidate to be placed on the ballot and considered by voters. Ballot Measure 31 ensures that the voters, not the appointment process, will determine who is elected to office.

Ballot Measure 31 maintains the integrity of Oregon's election process by ensuring that their "elected" representatives are indeed elected by the people.

We urge your support for Ballot Measure 31.

Committee Member / Appointed by
Senator Rick Metsger / President of the Senate
Representative Brad Avakian / Speaker of the House
Representative Vic Backlund / Secretary of State

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