Measure 90 Fails to Appeal to Midterm Voters in Oregon

Measure 90, Oregon’s top-two open primary initiative, came up short on Tuesday, November 4. According to the Oregon secretary of state, with 73 percent of precincts reporting, the measure failed to pass with nearly 67 percent of votes against it and 33 percent in favor.

The ballot initiative would have replaced Oregon’s closed partisan primary system with primary elections open to all voters and candidates.

The ‘Protect our Vote‘ coalition, spearheaded by the Republican and Democratic parties, opposed the measure.

Oregon’s partisan makeup has evolved dramatically in recent years. Republican Party registration in the Beaver State dropped below 30 percent for the first time in recent history. Democrats have maintained a plurality at about 38 percent of the electorate.

Minor parties, including the Independent Party (Oregon’s largest minor party) comprise nearly 8 percent of registered voters. Overall, however, the fastest-growing portion of the electorate are non-affiliated voters. These were the voters Yes on 90 needed to turn out on Election Day.

Almost a quarter of Oregon’s 2.2 million voters, who are not affiliated with any political party, will continue to be unable to participate in state-funded primary elections.

The Measure 90 campaign drew major endorsements from groups like the Oregon Business Association, The Oregonian newspaper, the Working Families Party, and Independent Voters of Oregon. However, most Oregonians were not convinced the state should adopt a nonpartisan electoral system.

Image: Ross William Hamilton / The Oregonian