May 28, 2010
Today, the Democratic Party of Oregon filed a baseless election law complaint against the Independent Party of Oregon.
After Democratic Party operatives last week complained that the Independent Party was attempting to raise funds in order to pay for its own primary election in July for all of its 54,000+ members, the complaint filed today with the Secretary of State claims that, if the Independent Party does not conduct such an election (which no minor party in Oregon has ever done), then it would be failing to allow enough participation by its members in its candidate nomination process.
"The Independent Party has consistently cooperated with independent-minded Democratic candidates," said chair Linda Williams, "including our nominations in 2008 of Jeff Merkley for the U.S. Senate in 2008 and Ben Westlund for State Treasurer, among others. But we also nominated independent-minded Republicans who supported campaign finance reform. But this year the Democratic Party and its paid operatives seem so afraid they will not capture our party's nominations that they attack us for trying to conduct a primary election . . . and then attack us if we do not have a primary election. The taxpayers pay millions for the Democratic Party's primary election, but there are no government funds available to pay for ours." Read more ...
"We expect the Democratic Party now to issue a press release claiming that the Independent Party is under state investigation for election law violations," said Linda Williams. "This is the typical technique of political operatives. What they won't tell you is that the Secretary of State is required to investigate every election law complaint, no matter how baseless."
The Election Law complaint is baseless. It contends that, because the Independent Party's bylaws allow nominations to be made by the IPO Caucus (a group of appointed and membership-elected delegates), if the party does not conduct a primary election at its own expense, there is not an "equal opportunity to all registered members of the party within the electoral district to participate in the process of making nominations or selecting the delegates who will make the nominations." To the contrary, if the Independent Party does not conduct its own primary election, then the Bylaws provide that the nominations shall be decided by means of party conventions or by the delegates to the IPO Caucus. Those delegates are subject to election by the party membership. Two of the five were directly elected by the party membership, pursuant to elections conducted on the Independent Party website. The other three are members of the party's State Council, which itself is subject to election every 5 years. "Over the past 3 years the party has conducted two elections, on its website, allowing any member of the Independent Party to nominate members to the Caucus and to vote on those nominees," said State Council member Dan Meek. "I am not aware of any other minor party in Oregon that has allowed such a vote. I would also point out that the members of the Democratic Party are not allowed to vote on selecting their party leaders."
The Independent Party of Oregon, the state's third largest political party, reminds potential candidates that, through 5 p.m. on June 2, 2010, any person can apply for nomination by the Independent Party of Oregon to run for any partisan office elected by Oregon voters in the November 2010 general election.
Even persons who are not members of the IPO can apply for such nominations, including persons who have already been nominated for the same office by another Oregon political party.
The IPO may hold a primary election in July, if it can raise sufficient funds to mail to its 54,000+ members and cover the other costs of an election. If the IPO does not conduct the primary election, its nominees will be chosen either by the 5-person IPO Caucus or by a membership convention this summer.
The IPO nomination process is further explained at http://indparty.com/apply.