Independent Party Buzzkill

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Choice2012Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins formally announced that the Independent Party of Oregon had enough registered members to be considered a major party, which means their primaries will now be state-funded.

However, this newfound status may not last long as the new Motor Voter law will automatically register people to vote. This means the total number of voters in Oregon will increase dramatically, making the Independent Party proportionately smaller again and possibly knocking them back to a third party status.

Although it wouldn’t be, precisely speaking, a third party, since besides the Democratic and Republican parties, Oregon already recognizes the Constitution Party, Libertarian Party, Pacific Green Party, Progressive Party, and Working Families Party, and allows them to place candidates on the ballot. The main difference is that all these smaller parties have no state funding for their primaries, so they have to pay for that process on their own.

Keep in mind that if you register without choosing a party, you will be what is commonly called an independent, but will really be what the Secretary of State refers to as unaffiliated, which is different from being a member of the Independent Party.

Note also that the Independent Party of Oregon is not the same as the Cascadia Independence Party—the Independents say they want to reform the USA, not secede from it.

By John M. Burt

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