Signing for Ben
I heard during Nice Week that Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, a Democrat, was giving independent gubernatorial candidate Ben Westlund a hard time about how he's gathering signatures to get his name placed on the ballot. Westlund, who until now was a Republican, is taking signatures from everyone, including members of the two major political parties, even though under a new state law passed last summer, a person can't both sign his petition and vote in a primary.
Westlund says that if any of his signers go ahead and vote in their party primary in May, their signatures won't count toward his total (can you believe he needs only 18,000?), but there's no harm in getting their signatures now, even if there's no way of knowing for sure whether they'll vote in the primary or not. If they vote in the primary, they'll just be crossed off his list.
I don't know what Bradbury's beef is -- I've read the new law, and it sure sounds to me like Westlund's interpretation is correct. Here's what it says in relevant part:
Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:It doesn't say you can't sign unless you know for sure you won't be voting in a primary. It says that if you sign and vote in a primary, your primary vote counts but your signature doesn't.
SECTION 1. Section 2 of this 2005 Act is added to and made a part of ORS chapter 254.
SECTION 2. (1) An elector may not participate in more than one nominating process for each partisan public office to be filled at the general election.
(2) An elector is considered to have participated in the nominating process for each partisan public office listed on the ballot at a primary election if the elector returned a ballot of a major political party at the primary election.
(3) An elector is considered to have participated in the nominating process for a
partisan public office listed on the ballot at the general election if:
(a) A minor political party nominated a candidate for that office in the manner
specified by the party in documents filed under ORS 248.009 and the elector participated in the nominating process; or
(b) The elector participated in the nominating process for that office by signing the minutes of an assembly of electors under ORS 249.735 or by signing a certificate of nomination made by individual electors under ORS 249.740.
(4) If a filing officer described in ORS 249.722 determines that an elector who has signed the minutes of an assembly of electors under ORS 249.735 or a certificate of nomination under ORS 249.740 has attempted to participate in more than one nominating process for the same office to be filled at the general election, the signature of the elector may not be considered for purposes of ORS 249.735 or 249.740.
* * * * *
I'm a registered Democrat, and I'd sign a petition for Westlund in a minute. And my signature would count. There's no chance I'd care enough about the Three Demo Amigos -- TR Cool-long, Not Ted Sorenson, and Jim "Over the" Hill -- to bother with any of them.
I hope and pray that we aren't limited to a battle of the Goldschmidt cronies -- Teddy vs. Saxton -- in November. Signing for Ben looks like our only alternative.
UPDATE, 1:47 p.m.: If you sign for Ben, however, does that mean that you can't vote on any candidate or any issue in May? See the comments.