Measure 55

Legislative Argument in Support

Ballot Measure 55 addresses a longstanding problem that faces Oregon every ten years when it does redistricting. The process for redistricting is contained in the Oregon Constitution.

"Redistricting" changes the lines of Oregon's legislative districts every ten years, based on the results of the U.S. Census, in an effort to make each district equal in population. Sometimes, when the new redistricting plan goes into effect, a district's boundaries are redrawn in a way that includes the homes of more than one elected State Senator or Representative. As a result, some districts have more than one elected legislator and some districts have none.

When this occurs, one of those Senators or Representatives is then temporarily assigned to represent a different district. This means some legislators are assigned to represent districts they do not live in and voters that did not elect them. In late 2001, after the last redistricting, several Senators and Representatives were assigned to represent districts that did not overlap at all with the districts in which they were elected. For example, one Representative elected in an urban district in the Willamette Valley was assigned to represent a rural district in Central Oregon.

Voters should be represented by the people they elect. Each legislative district has distinct characteristics and interests. Voters in every district deserve a legislator who understands the issues unique to that district.

Ballot Measure 55 corrects this problem by maintaining the old districts in most cases while establishing the new districts for nomination and election purposes. This will give voters more consistency in their representation during the redistricting process.

We urge your support for Ballot Measure 55.

Committee Members: Appointed by:
Senator Ginny Burdick President of the Senate
Representative Phil Barnhart Speaker of the House
Representative Vicki Berger Speaker 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.)