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Oregon Independent Party Releases Results of its Private Primary

Published on July 31, 2010, by in General.

The Independent Party, which is ballot-qualified in Oregon, released the results of its party-sponsored primary on July 30.  The party mailed a passcode to all its registered members, via postal mail, at great expense to the party.  The passcode enabled the registered members of the party to vote on the internet.

This news story says only 4% of the members of the party voted in the primary.  It is interesting that when the Reform Party held a privately-sponsored mail/internet presidential primary in 1996, 4% of the Reform Party supporters who had received a ballot chose to participate.  In that presidential primary, Reform Party voters voted for either Ross Perot or Richard Lamm, for Governor of Colorado.

The Oregon results are available at the party’s web page here.  However, the party web page doesn’t show the party affiliation of the various candidates, many of whom are nominees of parties other than the Independent Party.  Oregon permits fusion this year for the first time in more than 100 years.  In the U.S. House race, 3rd district, the Independent Party’s primary was between the Libertarian nominee, and the Green Party nominee.  The Libertarian, Jeff Lawrence, won, so will be listed on the November ballot as “Libertarian, Independent”.  In the U.S. House races in the 4th and 5th districts, the primary was between the Democratic and the Republican nominees.  In each case, the Republican won the Independent Party primary so will be listed in November as “Republican, Independent.”

19 Responses

  1. Phil Sawyer

    You can write me down as one of the people who voted for Ross Perot in that primary election you mentioned (voted by mail, not internet). Although I considered Richard Lamm to be a very good candidate, I still really wanted Ross Perot to be elected President of the United States.

    In the 2000 California Reform Party Primary Election, I voted for John B. Anderson for president. In the national vote-by-mail primary election later in the year for the Reform Party, I cast a blank ballot (choosing not to vote for either Patrick Buchanan or John Hagelin – both of whom are very intelligent men but I did not think that either should be president).

  2. I am chair of the Independent Party and helped negotiate the contract for the elections vendor and draft rules for the election. Had we the money we would have included other platforms (secure phone) for those without computer access and multiple passcode reminders.

    We will definitely do a comprehensive review which will be publicly available on demographics of the voters, campaign techniques, etc. For example, there is great variablity in turnout by district. In the 4th Congressional District (Eugene, Southern OR coast), which accounts for about 20% of state population and our own membership, the turnout was close to 7%.

    Anyone interested in conducting an e-vote option for a minor party is welcome to contact us–we have many ideas, suggestions, and some other options we will discuss after our review.

  3. An Alabama Independent

    I am somewhat disappointed the number of participants in the Independent Primary in Oregon were not greater, but voting by email is still a novice to many. It takes time to replace old traditions and habits.

    Still, the Independent Party of Oregon is setting the example for other 3rd parties to follow. This is why this party will be THE 3rd party of the future in Oregon.

    Congratulations to Chair Linda Williams and I wish you guys there the best. If I lived in Oregon, I’d certainly be a registered member of your party.

  4. Voting by email or internet is completely insecure and additionally there’s no secret ballot.

    Oregon’s IND party had 4% turnout? How do we really know what the turnout was, and how do you validate such an election? You can’t.

    Finland used internet voting in Muni elections in 2008 and a high court overturned the election results because 2% of the votes were lost.

    WVA allowed internet voting for overseas voters of 5 counties earlier this year. 58 voted ballots were recorded, and 14 that were requested were not voted or were lost. Out of 5 Counties! Of course the SOS emphasized it as a success and didn’t mention the absurdly low participation.

    Honolulu HI had an internet election in 2009 and the turnout was 6.5% which was an 83% drop from similiar election in 2007.

    If neither Google nor the US Department of Defense can secure their sites, why would we think that these political parties or a county election office can do so?

  5. Tony Roza

    Richard, you wrote “In the U.S. House race, 3rd district, the Independent Party’s primary was between the Libertarian nominee, and the Green Party nominee. The Libertarian, Jeff Lawrence, won, so will be listed on the November ballot as ‘Libertarian, Independent’.

    The results from
    http://indparty.com/results.pdf
    indicate None of the Above (93 votes), Jeffrey T. Lawrence [Libertarian] (80 votes), and Michael Meo [Pacific Green] (60 votes). Since “NOTA” received the most votes, does that mean the party has no nominee in U.S. House CD 3?

  6. Richard

    NOTA votes are tallied in the Oregon Independent Party primary, but they aren’t binding.

  7. Independent Party Primary–Richard is correct (as usual!) NOTA was a Nevada style protest vote but candidate with most votes is winner.

    RULES

    1. Upon login, each voter will see displayed a ballot consisting of choices in for the contests in the districts in which she can vote.
    2. Partisan races in which there are no candidates will not appear on the ballot. These positions remain “vacant.”
    3. If a candidate is seeking cross-nomination, the name of the other party which has nominated the candidate will be indicated on the ballot.
    4. The name of the candidate on the ballot will include a hyperlink to the candidate’s website.
    5. Ballots will include a write-in line in each contest.
    6. The ballots will include the voter option “none of the above” in each contest. The votes “cast” for none of the above will be tallied for informational purposes and to survey members if they would like to see that option in future elections.
    7. Votes will be tallied electronically under the control of the vendor at its secure server. The candidate who receives the greatest number of votes cast in each contest will be declared the nominee of the Independent Party for that office.
    * If a write in candidate receives the greatest number of votes cast, that candidate will be declared the winner of the contest.
    * If there is a tie for the highest number of votes cast, the position will be declared “vacant” without a winning candidate

  8. More on NOTA From our Election FAQ

    What Does “None of the Above” Mean?

    Choosing “None of the Above” on the contest for a race means you do not believe the Independent Party should nominate any of the persons whose names appear on the ballot and that you do not have a write-in choice.

    “None of the Above” is a voter preference currently available in Nevada primary and general elections. “None of the Above” cannot “win” an election–the candidate with the highest number of votes cast will be declared the winner. However, the number of “None of the Above” votes will tend to show voter dissatisfaction and is an alert to the winning candidate.

    The issues survey which accompanies the voting asks whether Independent Party members wish to continue to see this choice on future ballots.

  9. Phil Sawyer

    An Alabama Independent Says:
    July 31st, 2010 at 1:16 pm
    I am somewhat disappointed the number of participants in the Independent Primary in Oregon were not greater, but voting by email is still a novice to many. It takes time to replace old traditions and habits.

    Still, the Independent Party of Oregon is setting the example for other 3rd parties to follow. This is why this party will be THE 3rd party of the future in Oregon.

    Congratulations to Chair Linda Williams and I wish you guys there the best. If I lived in Oregon, I’d certainly be a registered member of your party.

    Phil Sawyer responds:

    Remember, also, that the pattern has been for lower turnouts in regular primary and general elections. We can not worry too much about the people who do not bother to vote. We have to do our best and continue to move forward. I can not say, though, that I would be a registered member of the Independent Party if I lived in Oregon (unless it decides to organize nationally). I am no longer willing to affiliate with one-state parties (which is the major reason that I am registered with the Democratic Party now rather than with the Peace and Freedom Party of California). I tried for years – decades even – to get PFP-CA to affiliate with a nationally organized party. However, the party leaders would not listen to reason. The reverse goes for the leaders of the Soc. Party USA [abbreviation used here to get past the Yahoo! censors]. That national party was not interested in having PFP-CA join it, en masse. It appears that when it comes to “minor” parties (from left to right) in our country, there are too many “big frogs in little ponds” who would rather put their own egos ahead of the interests of the people.

    Joyce McCoy (#4) above, makes some very good points. Personally, I would much rather participate in a regular election than in an internet-based election.

  10. Phil Sawyer

    Please pardon the error: I should have written Joyce McCloy, not Joyce McCoy.

  11. KJ

    One thing that is completely overlooked in all the hoopla about internet voting in Oregon is the fact that internet access is not spread evenly across the state. In fact, there are places in Oregon that can only access the internet via the installation of expensive satellite systems. No DSL, no broadband, not even reliable dialup.

    Internet voting is a luxury reserved for some voters. It excludes those very voters who already have difficulty accessing the system due to language barriers, geography or educational levels. Those commenting on this site are among those in the first category. How does internet voting benefit the second group?

  12. An Alabama Independent

    Phil Sawyer. You comments in #9 regarding “big frogs in little ponds” is right on target. I too have argued until I was “blue in the face” with this egocentrics who are so afraid of losing what little authority they have if they aligned their state party with a national party or even merged with a larger state party. While I’ve experienced it with parties of the so-called “right” I suppose the parties of the so-called “left” have the same problems.

    Actually, many of these 3rd party fiefs do not care about whether their party grows or not. All they want is the control. They are so in love with their party and its name, they salivate when they see its name in print or hear the name mentioned on TV or radio. Most of them don’t have the political savvy to elect a dogcatcher.

    This is why I support the AIP of California. Though some of its current leaders (official or unofficial) might disagree with me, the AIP has a neutral name where those of “leftists” views or “rightists” views feel comfortable in participating. The registered members will still decide who the party nominees will be – not the party bosses.

    While the old “Solid Democratic South” had its baggage, when the Democratic Party dominated in the South, the Primary was open to all shades of philosophy whether liberal, moderate, or conservative. The party members still decided the nominees via the Democratic Primary – not the party bosses. This is one reason why the Democrats dominated the South for over 100 years. There was no need for a 2nd or even a 3rd party. You got what you wanted philosphically in the Primary.

    It was when the Democratic Party in the South went “doctrinal,” i.e. a moderate to liberal party, did they start losing elections to Republicans.

    I believe it is plausible for the AIP in California to become organized like the old Democratic Party in the South. The name has a certain “natural appeal” to both leftists and rightists. I could see a day when this party could elect candidates to office from all philosophical extremes.

    But we were talking about the Independent Party of Oregon. But like the possibilities with the AIP in California, the Independent Party in Oregon, the Independence parties in both Minnesota and New York State, the Independent Party in Florida, and the Alaskan Independence Part could follow in those same directions.

    Politics in the United States over the next 25 years is going to be very interesting. I just pray the Lord will allow me to be here to observe it.

  13. KC Hanson

    There are many problematic issues surrounding this “Primary,” both in the lead up and the actual technical execution. I will address just 3.

    1. The IPO (Independent Party of Oregon) offered up its ballot to ANY candidate who applied, regardless of previous nomination, regardless of affiliation, regardless of political perspective. Not surprisingly, the results were a crapshoot as well: IPO members voted for both arch conservatives and solid progressives. The IPO brags a membership of 54k, but the “Party” itself has no clear Platform other than a set of Bylaws which pay homage to election reform and integrity. (The irony for me here drips as I get to my second point…)

    2. The IPO reached its voters via a snailmail postcard which had printed upon it unique access codes for each IPO voter. While the security once on the voting site may be fairly decent, the security getting to the site was assuredly non-existent.

    3. Finally, not a single one of the Oregon House or Senate IPO “races” reached even 100 votes in total. In one House race, where the Rep. represents more than 33,000 voters, the Incumbent secured the IPO nomination by a rousing 7 to 4 vote. That this is elevated to a proclamation of Party nomination on Oregon’s November ballot is beyond absurd.

    Too many things came to play all at once in Oregon this year, and the IPO did a good job dodging some bullets and establishing a facade of credibility. But this “process” is hardly one to admire and essentially misinforms the Oregon voters about who really stands for what.

  14. Phil Sawyer

    To “An Alabama Independent” (#12 above): Thank you for your rationality and for all of your “blue in the face” efforts. We (reasonable indpendents) may yet prevail and, as Norman Mailer would have said, “heaven help us when we do.”

  15. Folks should note that commentator No. 13 is the Chair of the Multnomah County Democrats.

    Back in June of this year, this same commentator boasted on the Oregon blog, BlueOregon, that she had “demanded” and forced this precise historic first ever e-vote primary as some kind of public spirited effort for ” the best interest of democratic process” and the Independent Party members. (Of course that claim was false as I personally began soliciting proposals for e-vote in April–but why bring up actual facts from someone who knows something?)

    Here’s what KC said on June 3:

    “While the IPO clearly infers that the 5 member nomination board is sufficient for the third largest Oregon Party, the DPO reasonably questions if this is adequate representation of IPO Party rank and file, and formalized it’s request for the SOS to intervene. In essence, while the Dems may be challenging the processes proposed by the leadership of the IPO, the DPO is actually taking action which would benefit rank and file IPO Party membership. Ironically, if the IPO was allowed to nominate (co-nominate) candidates at the behest of only its leadership, it is highly possible that the leadership would make more liberal selections than would the rank and file members. The more conservative selections that could be made by a full membership vote hardly would be in the best interests of the Democratic Party, but definitely in the best interest of democratic process.”

    Now, on the same blog, Blue Oregon, On July 31, she colorfully describes the first evee e-vote results she “demanded” as “steaming piles of excrement.” When that’s her current opinion and it’s completely disconnected from her own earlier statements, you can evaluate what degree of credibility you give her “concerns” now.

    No wonder so many Independent Party voters and nonaffiliated voters left the major parties and their political operatives who will say anything–no matter how inconsistent–to spin a result.

    Point No. 1. We beleive in fusion voting. We don’t have actual fusion, but we do have cross-nominations.
    Saying we allowed candidates from other parties to compete is the whole point of cross-nominations.’

    2. Our passcodes were uniquely generated and could not be used with additional entry of personal information. Taking a passcode and using that personal data in an electronic transaction is a class C felony in Oregon (5 years jail time).

    Many voting systems are fragile and permeable, including Oregon’s vote-by-mail and the hasty and illustory “check” of signatures before tallying votes.

    3. While down-ballot races were often dominated by None of the Above, the actual turnout varied by district. In the most heavily campaigned-in Congressional District in the southern valley and coast (about 20% of the state and about 20% of overall membership, turnout was about 7%.

  16. Correction to point No. 2.
    Our passcodes were uniquely generated and could not be used WITHOUT additional entry of personal information. Taking a passcode and using that personal data in an electronic transaction is the class C felony of identity theft in Oregon (5 years jail time or $125,000 fine).

  17. Dan Meek

    Readers will find an interesting exchange between KC Hanson and me at:
    http://www.blueoregon.com/2010/07/independent-party-primary-election-results/

    There she refers to the Independent Party election as “lipstick on a pig” and a “steaming pile of excrement.”

    She here offers additional incorrect statements. She says “Not surprisingly, the results were a crapshoot as well: IPO members voted for both arch conservatives and solid progressives.” What is wrong with that? The winners were those who took the election seriously and actually contacted party members. Why should party members be somehow required to fit into someone’s predetermined ideological mold?

    She says that the Independent Party “has no clear Platform other than a set of Bylaws which pay homage to election reform and integrity.” This is just false. The Independent Party’s website (indparty.com) contains lengthly discussions of its legislative agenda and other issues.

    She complains that we sent the passcodes out by postcard. As Linda Williams notes above, accessing the voting system also required personal information that was not sent out at all. Further, Oregon sends out all of its ballot by regular mail, which also is subject to theft. KC does not complain about that.

    She states that “not a single one of the Oregon House or Senate IPO “races” reached even 100 votes in total.” That is also not true, as Senate District 8 cast 161 votes. And many other districts cast votes in the 90s. Readers may not understand how small Oregon districts are.

    Further, she failed to note how many votes were earned by “None of the Above.” Faced with candidates already nominated by the Democratic or Republican party, indeed many Independent Party voters rejected both, thereby reducing the vote totals for such candidates. Notably, candidates not identified with any major party often did quite well. For example, Scott Reynolds defeated Lee Beyer (D nominee) in Senate District 6 by 46-18. Kevin Prociw defeated Val Hoyle (D nominee) in Representative District 14 by 26-16. Both Reynolds and Prociw are new to politics. In Representative District 45, Laura Bell came within one vote of denying the nomination to Kitty Harmon (R nominee).

  18. […] Wilson has no ballot line. He recently lost the nomination of the Independent Party to Kitzhaber. Wilson is now petitioning to get the Progressive Party on […]

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