LPO 2012 Primary Early Returns Strong

Posted in full with permission from Wes Wagner at Libertarian Party of Oregon

Chairperson Wagner Declares The Election A Success

The first Libertarian Party of Oregon Primary, being conducted by mail ballot, has very strong early returns. A total of 302 ballots were picked up and processed by the election tellers on June 14th. Most voters had received their ballots the previous Friday and Saturday, so this represents only a couple days of returns.

The tellers were required to work past midnight validating that outer return envelopes were legitimate and that they were properly signed. They outer envelopes were opened and the sealed privacy envelopes inside were placed into a locked ballot box. Provided that more than 1000 returns are in hand, the election tellers may start early tabulation so election results will be able to be made available on the deadline of June 29th.

“This is turning out even more successful than we had hoped,” said LPO Chairperson Wes Wagner. “We already have a record number of participants for any party process that has ever occurred in LPO history and I am certain we will also have a record number of candidates.”

“There are alot of supporters who have worked together to make this all possible. Unfortunately we have not had the opportunity to properly recognized them and thank them for their efforts. Our volunteers are all working double time to keep up with the requirements of our voters and our candidates.”

In addition to selecting candidates for partisan office in their districts, LPO registered voters are also being asked to make a decision on the ratification of the bylaws adopted by the past LPO State Committee on March 31st, 2011.

Election tellers will be picking up and processing additional ballots in June 19th and are moving to a twice-weekly schedule to manage the workload. If you are interested in assisting that committee please contact us. Ballots not in the mailbox by June 29th will not be counted. Oregon elections are run by mail only, so Oregon voters are familiar with these rules and the lead times associated with mailing in a ballot.

26 thoughts on “LPO 2012 Primary Early Returns Strong

  1. Harry Heyoka

    Power to the individual!

    Seems to me, getting thousands (instead of dozens) involved in Libertarian nominations is well worth the extra effort.

  2. Richard P. Burke


    While I generally applaud any effort to expand the base of active and involved Libertarians, this “primary vote-by-mail election” and the so-called ratification of Wagner’s bylaws are invalid under the legitimate bylaws of the LPO as adopted by members in convention. While I support outreach to registered Libertarian voters, they have not been informed that this process is disputed (I received a ballot and saw no such disclaimer) and the whole exercise threatens to be an entire waste of time, resources, and money.

    When the legitimate governing documents are restored by the court, any candidates nominated as a result of the process would be thrown off the ballot (Oregon election law requires that candidates by nominated in accordance with it’s governing documents). And not by me or other opponents of Wagner… as this dispute has become public, it would only take one Republican or Democrat who feels threatened by a Libertarian candidate in their race to raise a complaint, claiming that candidates were not nominated properly. All could be thrown off the ballot.

    To prevent this, a nominating convention will be held in August by the legitimate LPO leadership before the filing deadline. This will give candidates nominated in Mr. Wagner’s invalid process, plus additional candidates, a chance to obtain the nomination legitimately under the legitimate bylaws.

    Fortunately, even the worst case scenario will not impact our ballot access status because our registrant base is large enough to exempt us from election performance requirements.

    At the very least, those who received Wagner’s ballot and the candidates participating in this process should have been informed that the legitimacy of the process is in dispute. This omission is inexcusable and can only be an attempt to achieve a fait accompli.

    Won’t work.

    Richard P. Burke

    Richard P. Burke

  3. Mike Jones

    Are you going to nominate the candidates that are nominated by the voters, or only the ones who come to your convention to kiss your ring?

  4. Richard P. Burke

    Mr. Jones @7,

    It is not my ring or any ring that will be kissed. It will be the will of the members who adopted governing documents in convention which will be honored. Though, like all bylaws, they’ve been amended, our legitimate bylaws existed long before I joined the party and are the product of long time members.

    What we are going to say is that nobody, whether it be Wagner, me, or anyone else, can unilaterally rewrite the rulebook and look to the state for cover when the existing one doesn’t give us what we want.

    I would hope that anyone who subscribes to the Statement of Principles can agree to at least that much.

    Mr. Phillies @8,

    I am on the Reeves-led State Committee.

    Richard P. Burke

  5. John

    Mr. Burke, Back to Mikes question…. Will you nominate who the registered Lib. voters voted for or will you only nominate who shows up to your convention if events lead you to ‘power’?
    Simple question that deserves a point blank answer!

  6. Alan Pyeatt

    “’This is turning out even more successful than we had hoped,’ said LPO Chairperson Wes Wagner. ‘We already have a record number of participants for any party process that has ever occurred in LPO history and I am certain we will also have a record number of candidates.’”

    Glad to hear it! It’s good to hear that there are still Libertarians in Oregon who want to participate in the election, despite the controversy.

  7. Steve M

    Mr Burke,

    Suppose a large percentage of the registered libertarians were to participate in this mail in ballot and vote in-favor of the Wagner modified by-laws would you still feel justified in pursuing legal action or would you acknowledge the will of the registered libertarians?

  8. Jose C.

    @12 He would not acknowledge the will of the people. He would say go to hell, the will of the people be damned.

  9. A Frustrated New Oregon Libertarian

    Could someone please explain to me what the hell is going on with the Libertarians in Oregon? I wanted to get involved with the Johnson campaign, I would like to get involved in politics, but I don’t know who the hell is in charge. Johnson’s campaign says Burke, but it seems like most are with Wagner. Like the dead Rodney King said – can’t we all just get along, get organized, get a unified message, support Johnson and make Libertarian politics not seem like a big old soap opera being played out in bits and pieces…. who gets to decide who’s in charge?

  10. George Phillies

    @14 Of course, people in your predicament could contact Burke and Wagner, and see who gives you something useful to do.

    In particular, do you feel up to running for some office? The requires that you are eligible. If you are, identify an office — some are fairly far down-ticket — and ask Wagner and Reeves both to put you on the ballot.

    You can if eligible always run as a “paper” candidate. You will answer any questionnaires you get, do interviews, participate in debates if invited, but spend no money or and very little time campaigning.

  11. fred

    Most of us in Oregon feel more aligned with you and your frustration than we do with either of the factions.
    George’s advice is good.
    It is best to be friendly to everyone, try to build bridges (and expect some more frustration along the way) and get involved in actions that reach out to people with the Libertarian message.
    The more you get involved with the internal conflict the more frustration you will experience, but the more you focus on outreach the more you will find just how many people in our state want peace, freedom and other libertarian solutions.

  12. Richard P. Burke


    John@10 – It’s not up to me. Oregon law says we must nominate candidates in accordance with procedures outlined in our organizational documents. Nominations produced any other way are vulnerable to challenge by Republicans and Democrats. As the governing documents approved by members in convention are the only legitimate ones, and the ones likely to be upheld in court, only candidates nominated through the processes described within will be on the Oregon ballot securely.

    Allen @ 11, There are, at last count, there are 13,041 registered Libertarians in Oregon. According to Mr. Wagner’s press release, 302 ballots have come in. If this number is tripled, that will represent a turnout of 4.6%, not a high turnout as Mr. Wagner is claiming. Even if this election were legitimate, I don’t see how even doubling that figure could represent any sort of mandate.


    Because the election conducted by Mr. Wagner is illegitimate, we did not participate in it. Consequently, recipients of ballots and ballot information have not heard all sides.

    If a convention of LPO members under the legitimate bylaws were held and members approved a new set of bylaws subject to a vote registered LP voters, I would certainly respect whatever outcome resulted from it. But I cannot support an attempt to whitewash or legitimize a coup, which is what this vote is trying to accomplish.

    It must also be remembered that LPO members under the legitimate bylaws are required to subscribe to the Statement of Principles. Registered LP voters are not, and Wagner’s bylaws attempt to swamp the LPO with people who have not subscribed. Some don’t know much about libertarianism but registered as a protest vote. I’ve talked to some who don’t even remember being registered as Libertarians and don’t vote.

    Under the legitimate bylaws, LPO members make an explicit decision to be members – they decide they want to join. Under Wagner’s bylaws, almost 13,000 people were made members without their knowledge whether or not they wanted to be – if they don’t want to be members they must opt out. This alone makes the collection of registered Libertarian voters and LPO separate entities.

    Under the legitimate bylaws, lifetime memberships were lifetime memberships even if people moved out of the state. Under Wagner’s bylaws, the terms of these lifetime memberships were unilaterally changed. Lifetime members who have left the state unilaterally lost their memberships while others would lose their memberships if they leave the state. This could open us up to a class action suit of people who paid $1,000 and had their memberships terms changed unilaterally.

    Nope. Force is no way to promote libertarianism. Changing the terms of contracts unilaterally is a wrong. Members should be required to subscribe to the Statement of Principles.

    A Frustrated New Libertarian @14,

    If you want a complete picture of what is going on, contact me and get the other side. This blog is dominated by a minority of LP members and activists who generally ascribe to a particular faction in the party. Getting all of your information from this blog will not afford you a balanced view. If you want to run for office, that would be great. Regarding Mr. Phillies comment @15, let us know and we will offer you something useful to do.


    I disagree with Fred’s assessment regarding how “most of us in Oregon” feel, unless the “us” he refers to are those people that participate in the echo chamber of IPR and the faction he mostly hangs around with. Other than that, Fred’s advice is pretty good – Talk to everyone, build bridges [when you can], and reach out to people who aren’t Libertarian yet. But I would add that one should also define clear objectives, build alliances, accommodate others insofar as doing so does not lead you away from your basic objectives, and maintain focus.

    Richard P. Burke

  13. Ike Corona


    It may be useful to people like A Frustrated Libertarian if your side had a website. If you do I have not been able to find it.

    Also, maybe it would help if the convention approved the same candidates that are selected by the registered voters, provided that none of them are completely unlibertarian. That way regardless of which side wins the lawsuit the candidates would still be on the ballot and they can start their campaigns now and be sure they will remain on the ballot no matter what.

    I’m not siding with you or with Wagner, I would hope you could settle your differences out of court even though that does not seem likely.

  14. Austin Battenberg Post author


    I agree with #18, I have no personal opinion on this whole dispute in Oregon. However, this was news, thus I posted it. If you have ANY news you would like to have posted, please let me know. You can provide a link, video, or article by emailing me at abattenberg@yahoo.com

    I want IPR to remain UNBIASED, and if it sounds like we are, I intend to change that.

  15. Austin Battenberg Post author

    And I will be happy to post an editorial by you as well Richard. You have every right to have your voice heard just as much as Wes Wagner does.

  16. Richard P. Burke

    Mr. Battenberg,

    Thank you for your kind offer. At some point in the near future, I will take advantage of your offer.

    I will tell you that among those on my side of the factional divide, IPR has the reputation as forum or nexus for people in the so-called “radical” faction. I and others occasionally get sucked into posting to keep misinformation from getting too far out of hand, but most of us simply lurk when we want to see what the other side is up to. When people ask what the thinking of the radical faction is, we just shrug and point them to IPR. That’s how biased we think it is.

    I don’t think this is the fault of you or other IPR monitors who generally seem more objective than blog participants (including me). I believe that IPR is very tilted, but I don’t think it is your fault. You can’t help who blogs and who doesn’t. In my experience, people in the radical faction blog a lot more than people in other factions do. It seems to me that there is something about the radical mentality that gravitates naturally to blogs and other internet venues, but I don’t know what to call it. Personally, I hate blogs and rarely post (no offense, it’s just me). I prefer phone calls, personal meetings, and other forms of live interaction. When I see the need to kill an hour or two on a blog post, I usually heave a resigned sigh and get it over with. Among people in my faction, I don’t think I am unique.

    Shortly after this mess in Oregon is over, however it comes out, I’ll probably go back into read-only mode.

    Thank you, and good luck.

    Richard P. Burke

  17. Humongous Fungus

    “I will tell you that among those on my side of the factional divide, IPR has the reputation as forum or nexus for people in the so-called “radical” faction. I and others occasionally get sucked into posting to keep misinformation from getting too far out of hand, but most of us simply lurk when we want to see what the other side is up to. When people ask what the thinking of the radical faction is, we just shrug and point them to IPR. That’s how biased we think it is.”

    IPR is what people make of it.

  18. Austin Battenberg Post author


    I am a new contributor, I haven’t even been here a month, so I don’t have a horse in this race. I live in California too, so I don’t know much about the mess in Oregon.

    I consider myself a radical, but I am not opposed to the reformers efforts. In fact, I’m a strong believer in uniting the various libertarian factions because as long as we are divided, we can never defeat the statists. The way I see it, as long as we are moving the country and the size of our government in the right direction, I could care less if we have a radical or a reformer in charge of the LP.

    That being said, I am always of an open mind to all sides of an argument, and I want to try and be as unbiased as possible.

    I hope the past mistakes don’t discourage you, because that is the last thing I want to have happen. I want to motivate people, to get people active and passionate. And to those who are trying to split us apart need to realize we are all on the same team!

    You seem like a very reasonable fellow, so if you have an official rebuttal, please forward it to me because I think it is important to get all sides of the story. I believe IPR has an opportunity to be much bigger then it currently is, but as a news site it needs to be fair and balanced. (God I hate that term LOL)

  19. Jill Pyeatt

    I have followed the Oregon debacle since almost the beginning, although I’m not 100 % clear on everything because so many documents have been quite lengthy and I don’t have the time to read everything. I’ve actually posted many of the articles here on IPR. What I’ve observed is that not too many people seem to be changing their minds on it. Those who think either side is in the wrong don’t seem open to be convinced otherwise (I admit that I’m in that category). So, corresponding wiith each other and the public via this forum ian’t really accomplishing anything. What a shame you’re all going to spend a fortune in attorneys’ fees instead of talking this through.

    There are people who make their living as arbitrators. Has anyone suggested that?

  20. Wes Wagner

    JP @24

    The plaintiffs have no interest in talking, so from the defendants’ standpoints we are left with no choice but to defend the case to the end.

    The dysfunctional state to which they pursue to return the organization is absurd.

  21. Jill Pyeatt

    I understand, Wes. I was kind of talking to Richard, although I doubt my comments will mean anything to him or their side.

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