The following is the written testimony I submitted to the Oregon House Rules Committee, which will hold a hearing on HB 2306 today, Feb 25, at 3pm.
It is my understanding that House Bill 2306 will receive its first hearing at the Rules Committee today. I wish to submit the following written testimony on this bill.
I do not think it wise to pass HB 2306 for a number of reasons. My understanding is that the effect of this bill will designate all county and city elections as nonpartisan across the entire state, and that it will eliminate the ability of the precinct committee persons in a district to submit suggestions for replacement office holders in the case of a vacancy in local public office.
These effects will further erode local control over the public election process, and concentrate yet more control at the state capitol instead of the local community where it belongs. Forcing all races to be non-partisan, instead of allowing each municipality to decide based on the will of its voters, is not the role of state government. Similarly, eliminating the role of the precinct committeeperson (PCP) in determining a replacement for a vacant office subverts the will of the voters of that local district.
There is another, more insidious effect of the elimination of the role of the PCP in the case of vacancy. There have been many bills introduced over the past several years that have had the goal of eliminating the public office of PCP altogether. This effort has been mounted with the overall goal of weakening or eliminating the two-party political system and undermining political parties in general. HB 2306, whether intentional or unintentional, will have the same effect of undermining this vital public office.
I urge the committee to vote No on this bill.
Thank you for your consideration.