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Friday, June 20, 2014

Return of the Brewhaha! The Battle for Open Primaries in Oregon!

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 2:44 PM

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After a very long time (so long I don't actually remember how long) the fine folks at the Bus Project and Mercury are teaming up and bringing back our old series of semi-monthly politics and policy salons better known as ye olde Brewhaha.

It's always been simple. You show up at an adult place. You drink adult drinks. You chat with fellow civically minded citizens while learning something about your government. And when you show up next Tuesday at the NW Lucky Lab (1945 NW Quimby) you'll find that precious little in that proven formula will have changed.

We'll be taking on something you'll likely be hearing A LOT more about by the fall: a ballot campaign to bring so-called "open primaries" to Oregon, AKA an end to Democrats only voting for Democrats, Republicans only voting for Republicans, Greens for Greens, and so on and so on.

Advocates have sold the idea in Washington and California as a means of moderating the political extremes we tend to blame for gridlock—even as third-party candidates raise fears, not illegitimately, about marginalization and mainstream party diehards wring their hands over the potential loss of their traditional power.

So which is it? And what else can we do to increase political participation and get more young voters actually voting? We'll leave that to our panelists to help hash out (with help from lovely ol' me, your moderator for the evening). And they are:

Vic GIlliam, state representative

• Ben Cannon, executive director of the Higher Education Coordination Commission and a former state representative

• Jeremy Rogers, Every Oregon Vote Counts

Doors open at 5, so show up early and mingle and meet people who presumably care as much about politics and good governance as you do. And then pull up a chair, or stand in the back as unobtrusively as you can, before the main event starts at 6. Click here for details!

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