Keep the double majority

By Richard Leonetti,

The so called “double majority” provision is not part of a “local logjam”, but an important protection for the taxpayer. In even numbered years, when congressional and presidential elections occur, participation is much larger and a simple majority is all that is required.

What the double majority prevents is a dedicated minority group slipping through their pet tax increase on elections with light participation where they, and their special interest friends, can dominate the voting during other elections.

It makes for better planning by forcing money measures to appear together in even numbered years when no such requirement exists. Just as the legislature plans spending every two years, the taxpayer can see the total effect of all money measures at the same time and make a much more informed decision.

In odd numbered years, the Legislature is in session and can deal with money problems, so every year has a potential solution for money woes.

  • Jerry

    The double majority is a good thing.

    Many argue that it is not, but they are patently wrong.

    A no vote is a vote, after all, so if people don’t show up they must not want anything to happen.

    Most often, in Oregon government, this a good thing.

    Thinking men and women everywhere will vote to keep the double majority.
    Life losers who want more and more state involvement in their miseable lives and who want others to pay higher taxes will want to get rid of it.

    It is that simple.

  • Alan

    Is it really Democracy if people do not show up? No it isn’t.

    Support double maj.

    • Crawdude

      Oregon has a mail in ballot forum, its not a matter of people showing up, they vote by not voting!

      Keep the Double Majority…………………the majority of voters, voted to install it years ago! Democracy at its best!

  • dean

    Tehre is no democratic argument that can be made in favor of the double majority requirement. It counts a non vote as a no vote. Ridiculous.

    • Crawdude

      Its voting perfected! I don’t even have to be registered to vote……….its almost like illegals voting, only its legal and I’m not commiting a felony.

      The people of Oregon voted the double majority law in place and I believe they will see through the socialist agenda of getting rid of it.

      We’ll see in a couple months….

  • Anonymous

    “Tehre is no democratic argument that can be made in favor of the double majority requirement. It counts a non vote as a no vote. Ridiculous.”

    More typical nonsense from dean.

    This is a very typical Oregon liberal BS where they just make up crap.
    A non vote means they didn’t vote, period

    But dean and company are just so full of crap and dishonest they distort common sense.
    What they would like is for their minority have more control, period.
    Thier unions and newspapers to pass any tax increases they choose. In stark hypocrisy they are at the same time opposed to the initiative sytem. Which further demonstrates their repugnant
    Exactly like the mayor of Vancouver who recently suggested only those who may use light rail be allowed to vote on it.
    No doubt his tone was as pleasant as can be when he made that insulting pitch.
    You’re wrong dean, incase this is one of those time when “you aren’t sure.”

  • Jerry

    Anyone who thinks for a minute should be able to conclude that if the majority voted for the double majority it must be a good thing.
    Only those who want rule by the minority don’t like the double majority. They are weak, non-thinkers, who want others to help them manage their little lives.

  • RinoWatch

    The ballot measure in November would not do away entirely with the “Double-Majority” (D-M), but would expand Minority Tax Increases (MTI’s) to every May and November.

    This is classic government, putting the elephants nose under the tent. First comes this modification to the D-M, next would be total abolishment.

    The D-M has been approved by voters 3 times! M47, M50, and M52.

    Vote NO in November.

  • Bill Sizemore

    The Double Majority was approved in Measures 47 and 50 and then approved when it was on the ballot by itself as Measure 53.

    Eliminating the Double Majority from every May and every November election, as the legislative referral would do, is almost the same as eliminating it altogether. Turn-out in May and November of odd numbered years is very low and turn out in May of even numbered years averages around 38 percent, which is why I did not exempt those elections when I drafted the Double Majority.

    But there is something really rotten about this referral. The dishonest Democrat leadership in the state legislature wrote their own ballot title and stacked it in favor of passage, just like they did last year with Measure 49. They cheated. They wrote a biased ballot title and then passed a bill prohibiting the Oregon Supreme Court from reviewing it for accuracy or bias.

    I suspect we will lose the Double Majority, because of the stacked ballot title, even though our polling indicates that it continues to be supported by a majority of voters.

    If their nefarious plan succeeds, I plan on putting the law back on on the ballot in 2010 with a new measure that either raises the turnout requirement from 50 percent to 60 percent, or alternatively, only allows property tax measures on the ballot in general elections in November of even numbered years.

    Then the cheaters may be sorry they messed with this law is such dishonest way.

    • David from Eugene


      Ah, the low turn-out argument. Low voter turn out does not in and of itself favor either side of a ballot measure. What it does favor, is the most effective advocates for their side, regardless of which side. It makes one-sided campaigning easier, if you get you supporters out and the other side does not, your side wins. If you don’t organize and run a campaign your side will likely loose, that is democracy in action.

      My question to you is; is it your belief that in a straight up election your side cannot get enough support to defeat a measure you oppose? I ask because if a majority of voters supported your position, tilting the field in your favor with the double-majority requirement would be unnecessary.

  • David from Eugene

    The double-Majority requirement is anti-democratic, unnecessary, and a way for a minority to get indirectly what it can’t accomplish in the ballot box.

    It is contrary to the fundamental democratic principle of majority rule. It rewards apathy. An informed electorate actively participating in the functioning of their government is the foundation of effective democracy. The Double-Majority discourages active participation, why spend time and effort advancing a proposal, when all that effort can be negated by a group doing nothing.

    It is unnecessary; in the old days a weak case could be made for the double-majority, by arguing that bond and tax measures were being placed on “Special” Election ballot to sneak them by inattentive voters. With vote-by-mail that is no longer possible. Every voter gets a ballot for every election he is entitled to vote in. And the voter gets it with enough time to investigate the issue should he be inclined to do so.

    Some of the strongest supporters of the double-majority are small government proponents who lack the political power to advance their causes. They see government programs that they would like to see eliminated, but because they are unable to get together the votes to eliminate them directly they have adopted a tactic of allowing inflation to deny government the revenue it needs to operate. Their hope is that the programs they think are unnecessary or inadvisable will be cut in response to a reduced budget. Unfortunately it doesn’t work. The same majority that got the program established in the first place protects it from being eliminated, so instead of eliminated programs we get across-the-board budget reductions. These reductions have resulted in crumbling roads and bridges, crowded class rooms and ineffective law enforcement. And thanks to the double-majority requirement a majority of the voters cannot correct the problem.

    • Jerry

      Oh me, oh my! Everything is going to hell in a handbasket due to the greed and wanton disregard of the people in Oregon to the needs of the state.

      David – how much extra money have you sent to Salem to help?

      I thought so – $0.0.

      Practice what you preach and send some money in today. It should have been there already, according to you, so send it in now and help us all out.

      If you don’t, then no one can take seriously your rant above.

      • David from Eugene


        Are you becoming a “something for nothing” socialist, expecting someone else to pay for service you get?

        If you do not like a program that government is providing, start a campaign to have that program eliminated. If I agree I will join you and if not I may oppose you, either way the voters will have their say and the program will either be eliminated or not. That is the responsible way to reduce the size of government. Cutting revenue without also cutting programs is not responsible.

        • Jerry

          No. I just want you to be honest and take action now to help the state.

    • Crawdude

      “Some of the strongest supporters of the double-majority are small government proponents who lack the political power to advance their causes”.

      Lol, like the majority of Oregon voters, who voted for it 3 times? You must think awful little of the people of Oregon; or are you just trying to save them from themselves?

      • David from Eugene

        No, I believe that a coalition of individuals who agreed that government was doing things it did not need to, but who did not agree on which specific items, convinced enough voters to approve those measures.

        As the best way to have a government program eliminated is to do so directly, I see the fact that the small-government types have not chosen to do so as a strong indication that they believe that lack the political power to do so.

        Besides, the fact that a majority of voters voted for something does not make it right or proper, it only makes it the law. And when an effective campaign is mounted that law can be changed by the same electorate that passed it the first time.

        • dean

          In Damascus last March in a special election, we had a 40 something percent turnout establish a double majority for all future elections having to do with any fee, charge, or tax. A minority of around 28% of the total eligable voters (the yes votes) were thus able to hamstring the future of this new city to create a structure that allows us to finance the infrastructure necessary to support urban development. And the same yahoos behind this are crying that they can’t develop their own properties.

          So a minority established a double majority, and conservatives who advocate the initiatve as teh be all end all of democracy thought this was just great. Give me a break. The double majority is an anti-democratic requirement that protects anti tax advocates…period. You’ve got no leg to stand on here with respect to democracy. You either are for people being able to vote or you are not. Drafting non votes as no votes is dishonest and unfair.

          And Mr.Sizemore, with all due respect your future initiatives are going nowhere. Enough people in Oregon are onto you.

          • Crawdude

            David and Dean will save us poor unwashed from our own ignorant mistakes. Somehow, you are able to rationalize that your plans aren’t ” Dictatorial “.


            I’m curious why you believe your views are ” right and proper” and the majority of voters views aren’t. Under your own rationalization, the liberals in charge of the Oregon government, shouldn’t be……since they were elected by the majority of the people. Weird logic, at best.

          • David from Eugene


            For years most people in the world believed that the sun circled the earth, that did not make that concept correct, it only made it opinion held by the majority. The voters do not establish the rightness or wrongness of a matter, they only establish whether a measure becomes law or not. Once they pass a measure, whether it right or wrong, brilliant or stupid, responsible or irresponsible it is the law until it is lawfully changed. What the vote did not do is change the rightness or wrongness of a matter or idea. The rightness or wrongness of it is still a legitimate subject for public debate on its merits. And the way to debate the rightness or wrongness of a concept is through the use of facts and arguments not by voting or other forms of opinion polls.

            For that reason, I was dismissing your assertion regarding how the electorate voted on a number of ballot measures as irrelevant to the matter under discussion. I am not dismissing the individual voter’s opinion as irrelevant, but only that the fact that a number of voters voted one way or another does not prove the rightness or wrongness of the matter being voted on. Or to put it another way, just because an idea is held by only one person does not make the idea wrong. In my experience many commonly held beliefs started out being espoused by a single individual.

            As to my believing my views as being “right and proper”, do you advance views that you believe are “wrong and improper”?

  • Anonymous

    The most anti-democratic endevour in this state is the democrat party attack on the initiatvie system.

    No need to ask a conservative.
    Ask Dan Meek

    dean’s sour grapes BS on Damascus is a lesson in liberal convolution and more of dean’s parade of misinformation.

    The battle grows on all fronts with dean’s socialist cult coming unglued.

  • Jerry

    How relieved I am that Damascus will be held back in spending. This is a good thing. A very good thing. The peoples have spoken. And they were many. They were enough. They won.

    And David – it is somewhat difficult to stop these wasteful programs (Oregon Cultural Commission) in a state dominated by tax and spend liberal democrats who only want to control our lives and make a mess of it in the process.

    I much prefer the double majority to keep these people in line. Much.

    • dean

      Jerry…sure you prefer it. It makes it easy. All you have to do is count non votes as no votes. Its a no-brainer.

    • David from Eugene


      If there is wide spread public support ending the Oregon Cultural Commission is a relatively straight forward process with to options. Either you locate a sympathetic legislator to introduce a bill and then you and other supporters mount a lobbying campaign at the legislature. Or, you can go the initiative route, gather signatures, and then mount a statewide campaign. If you can gain enough support the Commission’s days will be numbered. I am not saying that the process is easy, because it is not, nor is particularly fast because it isn’t but it is doable if enough people agree with you. And if they don’t it will fail. But that is the democratic process.

      My guess is that a proposal to end this Commission would be strenuously opposed by the Commissions supporters and that getting it passed would be a hard fight. But that is right and responsible way to try to reduce the size of government.

      And yes there are a number of problems with the initiative process in Oregon, but not all of them are coming from the Secretary of State’s Office some are also coming from the development of a professional signature gathering industry. It is also important to remember that there will be a new Secretary of State come January and you and the rest of the electorate get a say over who it will be in November.

      The double-majority is not democratic; it is just a way for a group to force their view of government on the rest of us.

  • Clackamette

    I was skeptical about this proposed “double majority” change too — until I saw that several of the most consistently conservative, anti-tax members of the Legislature voted FOR this ballot referral.

    If conservative Republican Reps. Linda Flores, Chuck Burley, Jerry Krummel, George Gilman, Brian Boquist, Kevin Cameron, Susan Morgan, and Ron Maurer all SUPPORT this measure — then I have concluded that this is a good idea. Even Kevin Mannix has said that the “double majority” requirement was only needed before we had vote-by-mail.

    Count me as a “YES” in November.

    • Jerry

      Wow. Actual living legislators, gods if you will, have spoken. I will change my mind right now!!
      Thanks. I never would have known what to do or think without them.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    What pure brilliance. Yep, that’s it, the only thing wrong with this state is we cant raise taxes fast enough.

    Well, cry me a river of tears over how undemocratic it is we can’t raise taxes more easily. Frankly I don’t see a lot of democracy in the idea of a group of people getting together a tax in an off year to try and get money from everyone else for their latest pet program to assuage whatever guilt they have about whatever issue they are not interested in paying for out of their own pocket.

    No tax is so crucial it cant wait for an even year. Sure, its easier to get it passed in an odd year, when no one is paying as much attention, and that’s exactly the point.

    “Oh but gee, its not our fault if people aren’t paying attention”

    Yeah right its not your fault, in fact you are counting on it.

    Wouldn’t it be great if the same people who drove Poor Old Mrs. Idiot to the polls on presidential election night, also cared just as much about Mrs. Idiots vote on special tax raising initiative in an odd year?

    “Yep….that’s right…..bye bye Mrs. Idiot…, no, its ok, we don’t want you to vote in this election….we love low voter turn out when its time to raise taxes, we count on it”

    Frankly I never saw a whole lot of democracy in the idea of a group of people getting together a tax in an off year to try and put one over on everyone else for their latest pet program to assuage whatever guilt they have about whatever issue they are not interested in paying for out of their own pocket.

    • David from Eugene


      One of the few nice things about vote-by-mail here in Oregon, is that “Poor Old Mrs. Idiot”, as you refer to her, gets a ballot in the mail for a “special election” just like she gets one for a presidential election. And while she might be surprised to get one, she still gets it in time to, should she care to, research the matters on the ballot before she votes.

      The days of “putting something over” on an unsuspecting electorate were ended by vote-by-mail. You still need to do your homework if you wish to mount and effective opposition campaign. But the dates for all possible elections are set well in advance and are a matter of public record as is the status and text of any ballot measure, even those that have not attracted much attention by the conventional media. And thanks to the Internet, the public records on election matters are relatively easy to access, and sharing your finds to the world is easy.

      As to the urgency of a tax proposal, it is often not the need for a tax that is urgent it is the need for the service that the revenue from the tax pays for that is urgent. Situations effecting government revenues can change quickly and unexpectedly. The recently announced Hynix closure and the reduction of property tax revenues that will accompany it will have a major impact on the ability of Eugene and Lane County to continue to provide public services at current levels. While you may consider an even more ineffective public safety system is something that can wait two years to be fixed, I do not.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >The days of “putting something over” on an unsuspecting electorate were ended by vote-by-mail.

        Why? How? What evidence do you have for this?

        My contention is the same old “keep throwing up taxes and hope something sticks in the dead of night crowd” is up to their same old tricks. Counting on low voter turn out in off year elections. In fact by definition this entire argument is based upon low voter turn out, for if not, and more than 50% vote anyway, then why the objection?

        You say vote by mail ended all that. Based on what?

        Please, show me the stats that say voter participation in off years is the same as even years.

        If not, then please tell me why if surmounting 50% participation is such a hurdle, that doesn’t by definition mean you are counting on low voter turn out?

        How does vote by mail change anything?

        >As to the urgency of a tax proposal, it is often not the need for a tax that is urgent it is the need for the service that the revenue from the tax pays for that is urgent. Situations effecting government revenues can change quickly and unexpectedly.

        You are telling me there is some sort of essential service, where all of a sudden the funding gets cut so quick that we have to raise taxes right then and there and this could not have been foreseen?

        Can you give me examples of this?

        Hynix closing was unforeseen?

        I’ve got news for you, anyone who couldn’t tell at least two years out that they were closing has absolutely no business being involved in revenue forecasting for the government. I certainly wouldn’t want them in charge of my tax dollars. If the powers that be in Oregon government couldn’t have seen this based upon Hynix’s at least quarterly tax statements, then truly they are idiots.

        • David from Eugene

          With vote-by-mail every registered voter gets a ballot for every election. And that ballot arrives in time for a voter should he care to the research all the issues on the ballot. Ergo there are no unsuspecting voters to sneak a measure by. There may be uninterested, unconcerned, unmotivated and lazy voters who choose not to return their ballots, but there is no voter who is not informed of an election by the timely arrival of a ballot in his mail box. Long gone are the days of finding out about a special election by hearing the results on the 11 O’clock news.

          As to voter turnout, generally speaking a larger voter turn out is better than less. But since we have a participatory democracy it should be voters that vote who should determine which measures pass and which do not. We should not be rewarding the uninterested, unconcerned, unmotivated and lazy voters with greater “voting” power then those voters who take the time and effort to cast a ballot.

          Based on my limited experience working for a major semi-conductor manufacturer, I doubt if Hynix knew two years ago what was going to happen to their Eugene Plant and when. Lane County is already in a major financial crises that is already funding public safety at extremely low levels this drop in revenue will only make a bad situation worse. And waiting till the November 2010 election to vote on a measure to correct the revenue shortfall is too long.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Boy I hate when I paste but forget to cut.

  • Estacaden

    Anti-tax crusader Linda Flores voted “YES” on this double majority change?


    Early demetia?

    • RinoWatch

      Just one reason why I no longer trust her…..

  • Jerry

    Vive la cultural trust!