Measure No. 63

Explanatory Statement

Arguments in Favor

Arguments in Opposition

Measure Contents Page

Proposed by initiative petition to be voted on at the General Election, November 3, 1998.

BALLOT TITLE

63

AMENDS CONSTITUTION: MEASURES PROPOSING SUPERMAJORITY VOTING REQUIREMENTS REQUIRE SAME SUPERMAJORITY FOR PASSAGE

RESULT OF "YES" VOTE: "Yes" vote allows passage of greater-than-majority voting requirements only by equally large majority.
RESULT OF "NO" VOTE: "No" vote allows simple majority to pass measures that impose greater-than-majority voting requirements.
SUMMARY: Amends constitution. Measures including a requirement for more than a majority of votes cast by the electorate to approve any change in law or government action would become effective only if approved by at least the same percentage of voters specified in that proposed voting requirement. For example, a measure imposing a 2/3 majority voting requirement to change law would require a 2/3 majority to pass. Applies to initiated, referred measures presented to voters on or after November 3, 1998, including measures on same ballot.
ESTIMATE OF FINANCIAL IMPACT: No financial effect on state or local government expenditures or revenues.

TEXT OF MEASURE

DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY ACT

The following section is added to and made a part of the Constitution of the State of Oregon:

(1) Any measure that includes any proposed requirement for more than a majority of votes cast by the electorate to approve any change in law or government action shall become effective only if approved by at least the same percentage of voters specified in the proposed voting requirement.

(2) For the purposes of this section, "measure" includes all initiatives and all measures referred to the voters by the Legislative Assembly.

(3) The requirements of this section apply to all measures presented to the voters at the November 3, 1998 election and thereafter.

(4) The purpose of this section is to prevent greater-than-majority voting requirements from being imposed by only a majority of the voters.

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


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

This measure adds a new section to the Oregon Constitution relating to ballot measures that propose to establish greater-than-majority voting requirements. Currently, the Oregon Constitution allows ballot measures to be passed by majority vote. Under this amendment, any new measure that proposes to require more than a majority of the votes cast to change a law or government action must receive at least that same percentage of votes to become effective. For example, a measure proposing to impose a two-thirds voting requirement would itself require a two-thirds majority to pass. This measure applies to ballot measures starting with the November 1998 general election. This measure states that its purpose is to prevent greater-than-majority voting requirements from being imposed by only a majority of voters.
Committee Members:Appointed by:
Jim CoonChief Petitioners
Tim NesbittChief Petitioners
Jack KaneSecretary of State
Bill SizemoreSecretary of State
Duncan WyseMembers of the Committee

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

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Secretary of State Asks Oregonians to Vote Yes on Measure 63

Measure 63 is a simple and fair measure that will help protect and defend a fundamental principle of Oregon democracy.

That principle is majority rule. Measure 63 is necessary and important today because this basic principle is under increasing attack.

For 135 years in Oregon, majority rule applied to every law voted on, and enacted by, legislators and citizens alike.

But since 1994, Oregon's constitution has now been amended on four separateoccasions, to override this principle. Each time, some type of "super-majority" voting requirement has been imposed.

In some cases, a 2/3 or 3/5 vote of the Legislature is now required to enact certain laws. In others, a "double majority" of voters -- voter approval plus more than 50% turnout of registered voters -- is now the standard.

While "super-majority" provisions may seem attractive, they set in motion new and often dangerous dynamics. Suddenly, a vocal minority has new powers, able to "veto" the clear will of a majority. Political consultants have a new strategy for "victory": if they can't persuade voters to say "no," they'll try to make them not cast votes. Don't reward the politics of cynicism and apathy. Your vote right now should count more than those who are refusing to participate.

Measure 63 does not prohibit the enactment of additional "super-majority" requirements. Rather, it simply requires advocates of "super majorities" to live by the exact same rules.

If advocates believe a 2/3 vote should be necessary for the Legislature or voters to enact certain laws -- say, approving a budget or passing a school bond -- then such a Constitutional amendment must also be approved by a 2/3 vote.

Measure 63 is simple -- and it's only fair. Help protect democracy in Oregon. Vote yes on Measure 63.

(This information furnished by 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

Common Cause Asks Oregonians to Vote Yes on Measure #63

Oregon Common Cause believes that Measure #63 is good for Oregon. That's why we are voting yes on Measure #63, and asking our fellow Oregonians to do the same.

Measure #63 means two important things for our political future: fairness and protection.

It returns fairness to Oregon elections by requiring that all ballot measures play by the same rules. If a measure seeks a super-majority requirement to change the laws, it must pass with an equal super-majority of voter support.

It preserves the protection of Oregon's democracy, election laws, initiative process, majority rule and school elections from special interests with a hidden majority.

Measure #63 recognizes that changing a voting requirement to more than fifty percent is a very important decision an. So it makes sure that any ballot measure proposing greater than majority requirements meets the same standard of voter approval.

Measure #63 really preserves your opportunity to participate in the democratic process in Oregon. Your support on election day preserves majority rule as a cornerstone of our democracy for future generations of Oregonians and keeps Oregon's election laws the same on all issues.

Vote yes on Measure #63 because it protects the principle of majority rule and returns the ballot measure process to you and me, the citizens of Oregon. We say fair is fair. If you want to mess with democracy, you better play by the same rules.

Please join Common Cause in defending democracy on November 3 by voting yes on Measure #63.

(This information furnished by David Buchanan, Oregon Common Cause.)

(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

A Senior Citizen Supports Measure 63

As a Senior citizens advocate, I have seen much of Oregon's history and care deeply about its future. That's why I am voting yes on Measure 63, and asking my fellow citizens to do the same.

Measure 63 is vital to Oregon because it means a political future of fairness and protection.

How does Measure 63 improve our political process? Most important, it returns fairness to Oregon elections by requiring that any ballot measure play by the same rules. That means if a measure seeks a super-majority requirement to change a law, it must pass with an equal super-majority of voter support. As a senior advocate, I say fair is fair.

Then, it preserves the protection of Oregon's democracy, election laws, initiative process, majority rule and school funding from special interests with hidden agendas. This is so important to our ability as citizen activists of all ages to play the essential role we should in Oregon elections.

Measure 63 also does other important things, all of which defend our opportunity to participate in the democratic process in Oregon. Your support on election day preserves majority rule as a cornerstone of our democracy for future generations of Oregonians and keeps Oregon's election laws the same on all issues. As a senior advocate, I know how important a political legacy is to the future of our state.

And when you vote yes on Measure 63, you're protecting Oregonians from special interests who use deceptive ballot measures to change our voting laws.

What is so valuable about Measure 63 is it recognizes that changing a voting requirement to more than fifty percent is a very important decision. So it makes sure that any ballot measure proposing greater-than-majority voting requirements meets the same standard for voter approval.

I am voting yes on Measure 63 because it protects the principle of majority rule and returns the ballot measure process to you and me, the citizens of Oregon.

Please join me and my senior friends in defending democracy on November 3 by voting yes on Measure 63.

(This information furnished by Jim Davis, Oregon State Council of Senior Citizens.)

(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 Oregon PTA believes that majority rule and the responsibility and privilege of voting are cornerstones of our democracy.

The Oregon PTA supports Ballot Measure 63 because it is only fair that Ballot Measures that propose changes to voting requirements should have to meet those same requirements.

But now we're seeing more and more proposals to change majority rule through ballot measures.

The Oregon PTA has always believed in fairness in elections and political decision-making. We believe that any ballot measure that tries to establish a greater-than-majority voting requirement should pass only if it meets the same required greater-than-majority standard.

THE OREGON PTA SUPPORTS BALLOT MEASURE 63 BECAUSE IT PRESERVES MAJORITY RULE ­ A CORNERSTONE OF AMERICAN DEMOCRACY.

(This information furnished by Kathryn Firestone, Vice-President of Legislation, 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 argument.

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR

Oregonians for Tax Fairness Supports Measure 63

Oregonians for Tax Fairness is supporting Measure 63 because it's about two things that are fundamental to our election process: Fairness and Protection.

Measure 63 returns fairness to Oregon elections because it requires any ballot measure to play by the same rules. It requires that a measure seeking a super-majority requirement to change a law must pass with an equal super-majority of voter support.

If that isn't fair, I don't know what is.

Measure 63 also preserves the protection of Oregon's democracy, election laws, initiative process, majority rule and school funding from special interests with hidden agendas. So much of our politics today is misleading, and this is a way to ensure that any ballot measure proposing greater-than-majority voting requirements meets the same standard for voter approval.

Oregon's political history is based on the premise of majority rule. It's been a cornerstone of our democracy, and must remain so for future generations of Oregonians.

Best of all, Measure 63 recognizes that changing a voting requirement to more than fifty percent is a very important decision. Think about it this way: it protects Oregonians from special interests who use deceptive ballot measures to change our voting laws by returning Oregon's election process to its citizens.

Please join Oregonians for Tax Fairness in voting yes on Measure 63.

(This information furnished by Phil Dreyer, Oregonians for Tax Fairness.)

(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

Keep Oregon's Elections Fair, Vote Yes on Measure 63

When we vote on ballot measures, there's only one standard for our decisions. It's called majority rule. It's a good standard for our elections -- and the only one we've ever used in Oregon. We should be extremely careful about changing something as fundamental as majority rule.

That's why, as chief petitioners, we helped draft Measure 63.

Measure 63 is our answer to this threat to majority rule. Measure 63 says simply that any measure which proposes to change majority rule should live by its own rules. If an initiative proposes to establish a two-thirds vote on any issue, it should get two-thirds of the voters to agree. We think that's only fair.

Measure 63 is a good way to protect the integrity of our elections. Special interest lobbyists who draft initiatives to benefit their clients will think long and hard before they try to sneak through changes in our election laws -- once they know they have to live by their own rules.

When it comes to voting on how we vote, let's make sure we keep it fair.

Vote Yes on Measure 63.

(This information furnished by Steven Berman, Drew Heywood.)

(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

Measure 63 = Fairness & Protection

I am voting for Measure 63 because it means two important things to the future of Oregon's elections: Fairness and Protection.

First, it ensures fairness for our elections by requiring that any ballot measure play by the same rules. That means if a measure seeks a super-majority requirement to change a law, it must pass with an equal super-majority of voter support.

Second, it preserves the protection of Oregon's democracy.

How?

It protects election laws.

It protects the initiative process.

It protects majority rule.

It protects school funding from special interests

This is so important to our ability as citizen activists to play the essential role we should in Oregon elections.

The key for me on Measure 63 is it recognizes that changing a voting requirement to more than fifty percent is a very important decision. So it makes sure that any ballot measure proposing greater-than-majority voting requirements meets the same standard for voter approval.

When you vote yes on Measure 63, you're protecting Oregonians from special interests who use deceptive ballot measures to change our voting laws, while also protecting majority rule for school funding decisions in Oregon.

Voting yes on Measure 63 protects the principle of majority rule and returns the ballot measure process to you and me, the citizens of Oregon. That's only fair.

Please join me in defending democracy on November 3 by voting yes on Measure 63.

(This information furnished by Susan C. Remmers, Oregon Action.)

(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

I live in a small Oregon town. Schools and other public services, like fire and police are very important here. If 65% of my fellow Independence citizens vote yes for a new elementary school, then that school should be built. But some people want to change the rules, so that the school would not be built. Passing Measure 63 will help protect that process.

How would I explain Ballot Measure 63, the Defense of Democracy Act? In some ways it looks like a complex measure, but here's my simple explanation for it:

Measure 63 is really about fairness and playing by the same rules.

We all accept that a basic tenet of democracy is "majority rules." But some people with hidden special agendas have said they want to change that most basic of rules. They say they will eventually put a measure on the ballot to require a two-thirds majority vote to pass money measures.

Here in Independence, we often say 'what's good for the goose is good for the gander.'

Measure 63 is really very simple. It says, if you want a two-thirds majority for money measures, just make sure your measure passed by a two-thirds majority first. If you want measures that need 75% to pass, get 75% of the voters to agree with this concept. Strip away all the rhetoric and half-truths, and Measure 63 is an easy concept to understand.

Remember, "majority rules." That's a concept we learn early in this country. Here in Independence, we also learn early, "what's good for the goose is good for the gander." Fair is fair.

I'm voting YES on Measure 63. Please join me.

(This information furnished by Anthony Douris, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.)

(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

A 'yes" on Measure 63 is a vote for simple democracy.

Measure 63 states that if voters are going to require two-thirds of people to vote to change a law, two-thirds of the voters should have to vote in favor for setting this higher requirement.

Without this change, voters can, with a simple majority, demand that future voters need 2/3 of the vote to change the law. A simple majority should not be able to close the door on future voters. It's mean-spirited and undemocratic.

To lock something up by making the subsequent voting requirement nearly impossible will handcuff future voters and legislators.

Let's keep it simple, a simple majority, and untie the hands of our children and grandchildren. If they don't know how to vote, it's our fault, but let's not take away their right to fashion the government as they please.

(This information furnished by Jason Reynolds, Oregon Consumer League.)

(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

THESE GROUPS SUPPORT MEASURE 63 FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS

MEASURE 63 THE DEFENSE OF DEMOCRACY ACT IS ABOUT MAINTAINING

FAIRNESS

PROTECTION

DEMOCRACY

VOTE YES ON MEASURE 63

Coalition for a Livable Future

Community Alliance of Tenants

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon

Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network

Human Services Coalition

Multnomah County Democratic Central Committee

Oregon Action

Oregon Common Cause

Oregon Consumer League

Oregon Council of Police Associations

Oregon Education Association

Oregon Employees Union/SEIU

Oregon Nurses Association

Oregon PTA

Oregon State Council of Senior Citizens

Oregon State Grange

Oregon State Public Interest Research Group

Oregonians for Tax Fairness

Portland Rainbow Coalition

Rural Organizing Project

Sisters in Portland Impacting Real Issues Together

United Seniors of Oregon

Workers Organizing Committee

(This information furnished by Roger Gray, Oregonians for Open and Fair Elections.)

(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 63 UNDERMINES MAJORITY RULE

Measure 63 is a sneaky, back-door attempt to undermine the democratic process, and Oregon's long-standing initiative process.

The whole idea of Oregon's initiative process is to insure that issues important to the majority of Oregonians are put before them in a democratic way.

Measure 63, though, would undo the power of the initiative process and rob the people of their right to enact laws they care about by majority vote.

The sponsors of Measure 53, public employee unions, want to keep law-making power in the hands of politicians. They don't want the people to be able to pass laws.

It's all about control.

Measure 63 is intended to take away from the people the power to be self-governing, and place more of that power in the hands of the public employee unions and the politicians they elect.

Oregon is a special place to live for a lot of reasons. One of those reasons is the right we have to pass laws by a majority vote of the people. Measure 63 takes away a big part of that right. It gives more power to politicians and takes power away from the people. It's a bad idea.

FOR THE SAKE OF DEMOCRACY VOTE NO ON MEASURE 63

(This information furnished by Becky Miller, Executive Assistant, 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

MEASURE 63 IS UNDEMOCRATIC

The entire political system of America is based on majority rule.

Measure 63, however, is a blatant attempt to prevent a majority of Oregonians from passing a law. If Measure 63 passes, 60% of Oregon voters could vote for an amendment to the Oregon constitution and it still would not pass.

This measure is really about as anti-democracy as it gets.

Let me give you an example. A measure could be placed on the ballot to make it more difficult to increase taxes. That measure could get 60% of the vote, but it would still not pass. Not if Measure 63 is on the books.

Measure 63 undermines majority rule. It takes from the people the power to pass laws that a majority of Oregonians support.

You also might be interested in knowing that Measure 63 was placed on the ballot by the public employee unions specifically to make it as easy as possible to increase taxes. That alone should make one suspicious.

If Measure 63 passes, there are going to be a lot of upset voters the next time we pass a law and it does not go into effect, even though a majority of voters approved it.

Let's maintain the system of majority rule the founding fathers gave us. It's worked for more than 200 years. Let's give a very big thumbs down to this ill-advised proposal.

Vote NO on Measure 63.

(This information furnished by Becky Miller, Executive Assistant, 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.