FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 2, 2022
Norman Turrill (503) 807-4863
OREGONIANS DEMAND INDEPENDENT REDISTRICTING
People Not Politicians Heading to the 2024 Ballot
Portland, OR – After Friday’s delayed decision by the Oregon Supreme Court on IP 34’s ballot title, People Not Politicians announced today that they will soon file another initiative for the November 2024 ballot to reform Oregon’s dysfunctional and partisan redistricting process and replace it with an independent citizens’ commission for fair representation.
Currently, Oregon legislators gerrymander voting districts to re-elect incumbents in safe districts, thereby reducing political competition. This results in incumbents who are unaccountable to voters, which in turn lowers voter turnout. The Princeton Gerrymandering Project gave Oregon’s congressional map an F grade for its lack of competitive races.
“Oregonians deserve to have their legislative and congressional districts decided by citizens, not political partisans who are all too often beholden to monied interests. Our state and our nation are already far too divided, and intense partisanship around these boundary lines is a major factor in making this situation even worse. Let’s give some power back to the people,” said Phil Keisling, former Oregon Secretary of State.
The most recent voter registration report of the Secretary of State shows that, for the first time state history, the largest group of Oregon voters is not affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties – yet that group of nonaffiliated voters are shut out of the redistricting process.
Creating an independent redistricting commission has been a consistent goal of reform-minded organizations who stand by the principle that legislators have a direct conflict of interest in drawing electoral lines that benefit incumbents. People Not Politicians brought many of those groups to the table just before the pandemic and prior to the contentious and controversial process in 2021. The majority party leaders in Salem pledged to give Republicans equal access to the process, and then reversed their position at the last hour. Recently, Rep. Marty Wilde (D-Eugene) was gerrymandered out of his seat while serving in the National Guard during the COVID surge, apparently due to his challenging the integrity of undemocratic redistricting and politicians who do not serve the public interest.
“Our diverse coalition has come together from all party affiliations, income levels, backgrounds, identities, and all corners of Oregon to rally for equal, fair and transparent representation at the state and congressional level. We represent hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who believe we deserve the best possible representative government produced through a fair, unbiased and transparent process—and we’re working hard to make that happen,” said Becky Gladstone, President of the League of Women Voters of Oregon.
The coalition filed its initiative measure (IP 34) in April 2021 in the hopes of making the November 2022 election, but legal challenges from allies of Democratic elected officials kept it tied up in court until it was too late for this year.
Supporters are more energized than ever. “The fact that certain interests went to great lengths to stop Oregonians from having a say in this fundamental democratic process is just another sign that partisan politics have gotten way off track. Let’s come together and do what’s right for the people of Oregon,” said Eric Richardson, former Executive Director of the Eugene Springfield NAACP.
People Not Politicians will refile the proposed measure this spring in order to begin the ballot qualification process for the November 2024 General election. Once the measure has passed the qualification process, which petitioners anticipate could be as soon as early fall of this year, the campaign can begin signature gathering in earnest. They will have nearly two years to accomplish the signature gathering phase of the campaign. “We will be excited to finally get started collecting signatures, leveraging our large volunteer networks to build our grassroots strength over the next two years”, said Norman Turrill, Chief Petitioner and President of the League of Women Voters of Oregon Advocacy Fund.
People Not Politicians is a diverse coalition that includes the League of Women Voters of Oregon, Common Cause Oregon, Oregon State Chamber of Commerce, Oregon Farm Bureau, Independent Party of Oregon, OSPIRG, NAACP, Oregon Home Builders Association, Oregon Association of Nurseries.
People Not Politicians can be supported by going to its website and can be reached at (503) 386-7996.