Richard Winger reports on the Oregon Independent Party, founded by Nader supporters, holding an Internet primary this year.
The Independent Party is a ballot-qualified party in Oregon. It has 54,920 registered members, which is 2.7% of the number of registered voters in the state. Oregon only holds primaries for parties with registration membership of 5% or more. This year, the major party primaries were on May 18.
Because the Independent Party has so many members, it is not nominating by convention or caucus this year. Instead, it is holding its own primary, at its own expense, via the internet. The party is sending a postal letter to every member, giving him or her a unique ID number. That number can then be used by that voter to vote in the party’s on-line primary during July. For more information about the process, see the party’s web page at http://indparty.com.
Because Oregon legalized fusion last year, the party has many contested primaries. For Governor, the party has a 3-candidate race: two members of the Independent Party (Jerry Wilson and Richard Esterman), and the Democratic nominee, John Kitzhaber. For U.S. House in the 3rd district, the Independent Party primary is between the Green Party nominee and the Libertarian Party nominee. For the 4th and 5th districts, the Independent Party primary is between the Democratic and Republican nominees. For all state and federal offices combined, there are 77 candidates in the party’s primary.
On June 22 the Secretary of State rejected a complaint by the Democratic Party that the Independent Party’s nomination procedures are unlawful.
This is thought to be the first Internet primary ever held in Oregon.