Abbreviating political parties' names would confuse voters, harm alternative parties
Hillsboro Argus Op-Ed
February 29, 2012
The Oregon Legislature told voters it needed to have even-year sessions in order to deal with pressing budget matters. So why did the House Rules Committee on February 21 suddenly consider a bill and amendment to remove from ballots the names of political parties adjacent to the names of their candidates and replace them with 3-letter abbreviations?
Under current law, a candidate nominated by the Libertarian Party, for example, is identified on the ballot with the word "Libertarian" adjacent to the name of the candidate. Under the new bill, the candidate would be identified as only "LBT," which sounds more like a sandwich than a party.
Using 3-letter abbreviations would not harm the Democrats or Republicans, because nearly all voters will know what DEM and REP mean. The new bill with its amendment is aimed at destroying the opportunity for alternative parties to win votes -- by confusing voters at the crucial time when they are marking their ballots. Read more ...
Quick, what do these party "abbreviations" stand for? PRO, CON, PGP, WFP. What is the PRO candidate for? What is the CON candidate against? You might think CON stands for "Conservative." Wrong. PGP sounds like a street drug. You might think it refers to the ProGressive Party. Wrong. There will soon be a new party in Oregon named "Americans Elect." How will that truncated to 3 letters? AEL? AME ?
The removal of party names from their candidates on the ballot was introduced by means of an "amendment" suddenly appearing at the start of the House Rules Committee hearing on February 21--the one and only House public hearing on the matter. There was zero public notice of it. This shows how the Oregon Legislature really works. Public notice is jettisoned, when it comes time to squash the voices of the alternative parties.
Fortunately, thanks to timely, front-page coverage in The Oregonian on February 23, the amendment was rejected by the House Rules Committee and was never resurrected.
PRO = Progressive Party
CON = Constitution Party
PGP = Pacific Green Party
WFP = Working Families Party