Voters’ Guide – General Election 2020

Oregon Voters' Guide - General Election 2020

This Nonpartisan Voters’ Guide is published and provided free of charge by the League of Women Voters of Oregon. This is a FREE NONPARTISAN ELECTION REPORT for Oregon’s November 3rd, 2020 General Election. Qualified candidates for US Congress and statewide Oregon offices were invited to answer questions prepared by the League of Women Voters of Oregon. Candidate replies are printed as received, free of edits. Candidates are listed in the order provided by Oregon Elections. Visit VOTE411.org for more information.

  • October 13: last day to register to vote, or to update your mailing address so your ballot can arrive on time.
  • October 15-25: ballots arrive by mail. If you do not receive your ballot by October 26, contact your county elections office at the phone number below.
  • October 28: mail ballot by this date so it arrives at your elections office by November 3rd. No postage is required to mail your ballot. Otherwise drop off your ballot at an official drop off site.
  • November 3: election day, last day to DROP OFF your ballot at an official drop-off site by 8:00 PM.

FIND MORE ONLINE

Large print, audio (read aloud), screen-reader accessible and Spanish Voters’ Guides are posted at our website lwvor.org/voteoregon. For your specific ballot choices, go to VOTE411.org and enter your address.

CHECK YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION AND ADDRESS

Register or update your voter registration at oregonvotes.org. Your address must be correct. Ballots can NOT be forwarded.

Oregon State Ballot Measures

League of Women Voters members research and write these ballot measure reports. Researchers try to verify all factual information. Using published information and asking questions of economists and others, we work diligently to ensure our reports are balanced, accurate, and fair. We strive to provide the information you need to make an informed vote.

BALLOT MEASURE 107:  Campaign Finance Limits Amendment

OFFICIAL TITLE:  Amends Constitution: Allows laws limiting political campaign contributions and expenditures, requiring disclosure of political campaign contributions and expenditures, and requiring political campaign advertisements to identify who paid for them.

REFERENDUM:  This measure is a constitutional amendment passed by the Oregon House and Senate and referred to voters.

FINANCIAL IMPACTThe Oregon Financial Estimate Committee  says this measure will have no impact on state revenue and involve only expenditures related to printing it in the official voters’ pamphlet.

PROBABLE RESULTS OF A “YES” VOTE:  Laws that limit and/or require the disclosure of both contributions and expenditures of campaigns made to influence an election would be allowed. Also would allow laws that require campaign or election advertisements to identify who paid for them. It would apply to laws passed on or after January 1, 2016.

PROBABLE RESULTS OF A “NO” VOTE:  We would keep the current state constitutional wording on this subject. Courts say this doesn’t limit expenditures but does allow limits on contributions.

BACKGROUND:  In 1997 the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution prohibits limiting contributions to or expenditures of political campaigns or campaigns intended to influence the outcome of an election because this would restrain the “free expression of opinion.”

This ruling foiled a 2004 attempt to change the state constitution and pass campaign contribution limits as well as two more recent election limit proposals—for Multnomah County in 2016 and for Portland in 2018. These also were challenged and have not gone into effect. However, in April 2020, as part of the Multnomah County litigation, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the Oregon constitution does allow limits on campaign donations so long as they do not target expression. Limits on expenditures are still prohibited.

Since 2019, an Oregon law requires that ads supporting or opposing a clearly identified candidate include the name of the person or entity that paid for them.

PROPOSAL:  Measure 107 would amend the Oregon Constitution to permit the state legislature, the governing body of a city, county, municipality or district, or the people, using the initiative process to enact laws or ordinances relating to the use of moneys in political or other campaigns within their jurisdiction. It would:

  • Limit contributions made to political campaigns (such as candidates, ballot-measures, etc.) in a way that won’t prevent candidates and political committees from raising adequate resources for effective advocacy:
  • Require the disclosure of contributions or expenditures made by political campaigns or by others trying to influence the outcome of any election;
  • Require that political campaign ads, or ads made to influence the outcome of any election, identify the persons or entities paying for them;
  • Limit expenditures made in connection with political campaigns or to influence the outcome of any election to the extent permitted under the Constitution of the United States
  • Applies to any such laws that have been passed on or after January 1, 2016.

SUPPORTERS SAY:

  • Oregon is one of only five states with no contribution limits of any kind. As a result, large corporations, wealthy donors, and special interest groups have an undue influence over the candidates who are elected.
  • Reducing the influence of money in politics will allow candidates to compete more equitably for public office.
  • Transparency: The public has a fundamental right to know the true sources of money spent on our elections.
  • This reform will promote citizen participation in the political process by reducing the influence of special interests and the wealthy.

OPPONENTS SAY:

  • “Special interests” represent the interests and voices of many ordinary citizens.
  • Limiting campaign contributions and expenditures does not level the playing field.
  • Campaign donations don’t “influence” the behavior of elected officials.
  • The measure would weaken the freedom of speech of Oregonians, and political speech deserves the most protection, not the least.

MEASURE 108:  Increase/Create Tobacco/Nicotine Tax, Fund Health Programs

OFFICIAL TITLE:  Increase cigarette and cigar taxes. Establishes tax on e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping devices. Funds health programs.

REFERENDUM:  This measure is a statutory amendment referred to the initiative process by the Legislative Assembly with a House vote of 39 to 21 and a Senate vote of 18 to 7; 2 non-voting.

FINANCIAL IMPACT:  The Secretary of State and State Treasurer estimate that the measure will increase net state revenues by $111.1 million in 2019-21 and $331.4 million in 2021-23. Local governments, the state’s General Fund, and mental health programs at the Oregon Health Authority could see a decline in revenue if the measure passes. The current cigarette tax and the proposed tax are dedicated to different purposes.

Administrative expenses are expected to decrease to approximately $1.0 million in 2019-21 and $1.3 million in 2021-23. Beyond the cost of administration, the impact of the revenue increases and decreases on state and local government expenditures is indeterminate and will depend on decisions made by the governing bodies of those governments.

Funds used for Medicaid programs can generate matching Federal funds.

PROBABLE RESULTS OF AYES” VOTE:   As of 1/1/21, the cigarette tax will increase from $1.33 to $3.33 per pack, the cigar tax from $.50 to $1 each, and a snuff container, to a minimum $2.14. All other non-taxed nicotine-containing goods, such as e-cigarettes and vaping products, will be taxed at 65% of wholesale.

PROBABLE RESULTS OF A “NO” VOTE:  Tax rates for tobacco and nicotine products will remain at current rates.

BACKGROUND:  Oregon is one of approximately twenty-two states that do not tax nicotine delivery systems. Twenty-eight states have taxes on e-cigarettes and vaping products that range from 96% of wholesale in Minnesota to five cents per milliliter in several other states. There are debates about ease and cost of record keeping for price versus nicotine content. Nicotine is taxed in California (56.27%), Washington (9 to 27 cents per milliliter), and Nevada (30%). Idaho has proposed a tax of 30%. Measure 108 would place Oregon’s tax at 65% of wholesale.

The 2014 U.S. Census State Survey data shows over twice the ‘sin’ tax collected from tobacco/nicotine as from alcohol or gaming. The CDC reports the highest rates of tobacco use among:

  • minorities

  • those with a GED or no high school diploma

  • those earning under $35,000 per year (in Oregon the income level is under $15,000)

  • the uninsured.

A 2016 report by the Oregon Health Authority shows 17% of adult Oregonians smoke cigarettes and (in 2017) 17% of 11th graders were currently using e-cigarettes.

Current tobacco taxes help fund the Oregon Health Plan.

PROPOSAL:  This measure would change the tax formula for tobacco products currently taxed and impose new taxes on any product containing nicotine that is intended to be burned or heated for personal consumption. After payment of administrative distribution ninety percent of the new taxes would be directed toward the Oregon Health Authority to increase the number of people who can receive medical assistance, including mental health services. The remaining ten percent of the funds would go to the Oregon Health Authority for distribution to tribal, cultural, and community-specific health providers and programs. The intended result is to discourage tobacco/nicotine use and raise revenue.

SUPPORTERS SAY:

  • Oregonians should be encouraged to quit using tobacco/nicotine because of the danger to their health.

  • The measure expands the current taxation to include new nicotine inhalant delivery systems which may discourage the use of e-cigarettes and vaping products.

  • Surrounding states have nicotine taxes in place; Oregon should align with them to discourage cross-border tax avoidance purchasing.

OPPONENTS SAY:

  • A tax on e-cigarettes and vaping products may drive people back to smoking cigarettes, a more medically dangerous type of consumption.
  • Tobacco taxes are paid disproportionately by low income individuals.
  • Sin taxes are a relatively small income generator.

BALLOT MEASURE 109:  Oregon Psilocybin Services Act

OFFICIAL TITLE:  Allows manufacture, delivery, administration of psilocybin at supervised, licensed facilities; imposes 2-year development period.

INITIATIVE:  This measure is a statutory amendment placed on the ballot by initiative petition with an estimated 132,465 valid signatures.

FINANCIAL IMPACT:  State revenue and expenditures will be impacted by passage of this measure. Local government expenditures will be impacted. The measure requires the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to develop, over a two-year period, beginning January 1, 2021, a regulation, licensure, and enforcement program, including fees and fines. According to the Oregon Secretary of State, during the two-year development period, the cost to the General Fund would be an estimated $7 million.

Once the program is established, ongoing costs are estimated at $3.1 million annually. Fees and tax assessed under the law are expected to cover these costs. The cost to local governments for conducting required land use compatibility assessments for licensee applicants and adoption of any pertinent ordinances is indeterminate.

PROBABLE RESULTS OF A “YES” VOTE:   If this measure passes, it would allow the manufacture, delivery, and administration of psilocybin at supervised, licensed facilities, and would impose a 2-year period for developing the policies, procedures, and infrastructure needed for the program to succeed.

PROBABLE RESULTS OF A “NO” VOTE:  If this measure fails, it would retain current law, which prohibits the manufacture, delivery, and possession of psilocybin and imposes misdemeanor or felony criminal penalties.

BACKGROUND:  Psilocybin mushrooms include a mixed variety of mushrooms with psychoactive properties. They are considered sacred medicine among indigenous tribes, with a long history of use in religious and spiritual ceremonies in both Europe and Mesoamerica. They must be carefully identified and are generally illegal in the U.S. because of potential adverse effects, including hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, or renal failure.

The Federal government classifies psilocybin mushrooms as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance with no accepted medical use and high potential for abuse. However, studies conducted nationally and internationally have indicated beneficial outcomes from psilocybin treatment in mental health conditions, including but not limited to addiction, depression, anxiety disorders, and end-of-life psychological distress. In 2019 the cities of Denver, Colorado, and Oakland, California, voted to decriminalize these substances, making them a low priority for law enforcement but not setting up structured systems for assuring any beneficial use.

PROPOSAL:  This measure legalizes, regulates, and taxes the manufacture, sale, and administration of psilocybin for mental health purposes. The proposed act, which draws on the 1998 Oregon Medical Marijuana Act (OR475B), contains 134 sections that establish an advisory board answerable to the Oregon Health Authority; sets prerequisites and standards for issuing licenses and establishing service centers (such as no criminal record and specified distance from school facilities); and defines treatment protocols. The Oregon Health Authority is given a number of new responsibilities, including the licensing role, testing psilocybin substances for contamination, and disseminating research relating to the safety and efficacy of these substances. In contrast to Oregon’s marijuana program, the psilocybin act would not allow any retail sales or personal crops of psilocybin mushrooms. Section 128 would allow counties and local municipalities to prohibit the siting of psilocybin facilities based on a local vote, although the measure does not provide any financial resources to these entities.

The most prominent and distinguishing feature of Measure 109 is that the administration and consumption of psilocybin will be permitted: (i) only at a licensed “psilocybin service center;” and (ii) only under the supervision of a licensed “psilocybin service facilitator.”

The measure establishes a fifteen percent point of sales tax based on the retail sales of psilocybin as a source of funding for administering the program by the Oregon Health Authority, tax collection and enforcement by the Oregon Department of Revenue, and administration of a psilocybin tracking system by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission

SUPPORTERS SAY:

  • Oregonians with certain mental health issues, including opioid addictions, may find relief if psilocybin substances are more readily available.
  • The program has been designed to protect patients and assure beneficial outcomes by making the substances available under tightly controlled conditions.
  • The consumption of psilocybin will take place only in a controlled environment and only under the supervision of licensed and trained personnel.

OPPONENTS SAY:

  • Oregon would be in conflict with Federal drug policy, putting the Oregon program at legal risk.
  • The U.S. is still learning about the impact of legalizing marijuana and it might be premature to embark on another biochemical experiment.
  • The proposal does not go far enough; the use of a natural medicine should be decriminalized.

BALLOT MEASURE 110:  Drug Addiction Treatment and Decriminalization

OFFICIAL TITLE:  Provides statewide addiction/recovery services; marijuana taxes partially finance; reclassifies possession/penalties for specified drugs

INITIATIVE:  The measure is a statutory amendment placed on the ballot by initiative petition with an estimated 154,010 valid signatures.

FINANCIAL IMPACT:  This measure redistributes marijuana revenue above $11.25 million per quarter from existing recipients to the Drug Addiction Treatment and Decriminalization Fund, reducing revenue to the State School Fund, the State Police, mental health programs, and local governments. The total reduction is $8.6 million in 2019-21 and $36.4 million in 2021-23. This will also reduce revenue transferred from the Department of Corrections for local government community corrections.

PROBABLE RESULT OF “YES” VOTE:  If this measure passes, it will make personal, non-commercial possession of a controlled substance no more than a Class E violation (maximum fine of $100) and will establish a drug addiction treatment and recovery program funded in part by the state’s marijuana tax revenue.

PROBABLE RESULT OF “NO” VOTE:  Retains laws classifying personal possession of drugs listed in Controlled Substances Act Schedules I through IV as a misdemeanor. Non-commercial possession of a controlled substance will continue to carry a penalty of a Class A misdemeanor (maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $6,250 fine).

BACKGROUND:  Currently, personal, non-commercial (small amount) possession of drugs listed in Schedule I, II, III, or IV of the federal Controlled Substances Act is a Class A or C misdemeanor.

PROPOSAL:  Measure 110 would decriminalize possession of illegal substances in Oregon, but the manufacture or sale would remain illegal. The measure would redirect marijuana taxes to fund drug treatment.

This measure would eliminate criminal penalties and classify possession of small amounts of controlled substances as a Class E violation. These violations would be subject to a $100 fine or completion of a health assessment by an “addiction recovery center.”

This measure would create a “Drug Treatment and Recovery Services Fund” financed by legislative appropriations and Oregon Marijuana Account allocations. It would also establish an advisory council to oversee and approve grants to existing agencies or coordinated care organizations by October 1, 2021.

SUPPORTERS SAY:

  • Creating culturally appropriate treatment programs to solve Oregon’s drug problems is more effective than incarceration.
  • Money currently spent on arrest, prosecution and incarceration can be more effectively spent on treatment.

OPPONENTS SAY:

  • This measure would divert the dedicated marijuana-tax income from the regulation of the growth, sale, and distribution of legal cannabis.
  • Revenue from the marijuana tax would be inadequate to fund both regulation and treatment.

Candidates: US President

The National (US) League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) manages the voters’ guide information for candidates for US President and shares this information with State League of Women Voters chapters. The LWVEF’s guidelines are:

  • All qualified presidential candidates were invited to provide biographical information and responses to specific questions. Candidates were qualified if they met the following criteria during the general election season: 1. The candidate must have made a public announcement of her/his intention to run for President; 2. The candidate must meet the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act’s minimum contribution threshold requirements for qualifying for matching funds, based on the most recent data publicly available on the FEC website by the date of publication.
  • Responses were limited to a specific number of characters and were truncated thereafter.
  • If a candidate did not respond by the date of publication, “Candidate did not respond by deadline.” is printed.

Additional information on presidential candidates is available at www.VOTE411.org.

We asked the candidates the same 5 questions:

  1. What actions would you take to balance public health and economic recovery in the US, both in light of COVID-19 and for the long term?
  2. What is the most important issue facing our country and how do you plan to address it during your first 100 days in office?
  3. How will you address racial injustice in our country on day one of your administration?
  4. What aspects of our current immigration policy will your administration address first?
  5. What will you do over the long term to ensure access to quality healthcare for all?

Questions Copyright © 2020 by the League of Women Voters Education Fund

http://www.donaldjtrump.com

Candidate did not respond by deadline.

http://www.joebiden.com

  1. On public health and economic recovery.

It’s a false choice to think we have to choose between our public health and economy; they’re linked. On Day One, I’ll implement the COVID strategy I’ve laid out since March – surging testing and protective gear; distributing vaccines safely and free of politics; helping schools and small businesses cover costs; and getting state and local governments resources to keep educators, cops, and firefighters on the job. I’ll respect science and tell the truth, period. And I’ll build our economy back better, creating millions of good-paying jobs. I’ll revitalize manufacturing, build a clean energy economy, and boost caregiving – easing the squeeze on working families, providing paid leave, and getting caregivers the respect and pay they deserve.

  1. On priorities for the first 100 days.

Pandemic. Recession. Racial injustice. Climate change. We’re facing historic crises; we have to tackle them all at once. Character and experience count. I’ll listen to scientists, tell the truth, and make sure we’re never so unprepared for a pandemic again. I’ll expand the Affordable Care Act, lowering costs and making health care a right for all. I’ll build our economy back better, and make racial equity central to recovery. In these crises, we have an enormous opportunity, if we come together. As President, I’ll draw on the best of us, not the worst. I’ll work as hard for those who don’t support me as for those who do. That’s a president’s job: to represent us all. To take responsibility. To protect the nation. To unite and to heal.

  1. On addressing racial injustice.

America is at an inflection point. It’s past time to end our inequities and deal with the denial of our nation’s promise to too many for too long. I’ll fight to end the health inequities that COVID-19 amplifies; and give every child the same strong start in life by offering universal Pre-K, tripling funding for Title I schools, and making public college debt-free for most families. I’ll make racial equity central to our recovery, closing the racial wealth and income gaps, boosting home ownership, and investing in communities and entrepreneurs of color – building a stronger, more inclusive middle class for the future. And, I’ll work for real police reform and invest in shifting our criminal justice focus from incarceration to prevention.

  1. On immigration policies.

My immigration policy is built around keeping families together. It’s past time to reform our broken system, restoring family unification and diversity as its core pillars. As President, I’ll reverse Trump’s assault on our values on Day One, ending his cruel border policies that rip children from their mothers’ arms. I’ll act immediately to protect Dreamers and their families, and invest real political capital in finally delivering legislative immigration reform, with a roadmap to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented people who already do so much to make our communities strong. We have to enforce our laws, but in a way that’s humane, respects due process, honors our values, and sees the big picture.

  1. On long-term access to quality health care.

This pandemic makes clear: All Americans need access to quality, affordable health insurance. That’s why I’ll protect and build on the Affordable Care Act. I helped to secure the final key votes to pass that landmark law, protecting 100 million Americans who can no longer be turned away or denied coverage for pre-existing conditions, and bringing coverage to 20 million more. As President, I’ll build on that progress with a public option and lower health care and prescription drug costs. I’ll make all COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccines free; double funding for community health centers that are so often on the frontlines of care; and much more.

Candidate did not respond by deadline.

Candidate did not respond by deadline.

Candidate did not respond by deadline.

Candidates: US Senate

The term for US Senator is six years. The annual salary is $174,000.

We asked candidates for US Senate the same three questions:

  1. As a result of your experience with COVID-19, what changes would you like to see in the national health care system?
  2. What changes, if any, to immigration law would you want to pursue? Why?
  3. What should be the federal priorities for managing the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.?

Here are their replies, as received with no edits or corrections:

Swipe through to view all candidates. Click to read candidate responses.

Candidates: US Congress

The term for US Representative is two years. The annual salary is $174,000.

We asked candidates for US Representative the same three questions:

  1. As a result of your experience with COVID-19, what changes would you like to see in the national health care system?
  2. What changes, if any, to immigration law would you want to pursue? Why?
  3. What should be the federal priorities for managing the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.?

Here are their replies, as received with no edits or corrections:

Swipe through to view all candidates. Click to read candidate responses.

Candidates: Oregon Attorney General

The term for Oregon Attorney General is 4 years. The annual salary is $82,200.

We asked candidates for Oregon Attorney General the same three questions:

  1. Should the Attorney General’s office investigate police killings or other cases of police misconduct? Why or why not?
  2. What can the state do to promote better models of handling mental health issues as people interact with the justice system?
  3. What role does the Attorney General have in promoting transparency and fairness in the justice system?

Here are their replies, as received with no edits or corrections:

Swipe through to view all candidates. Click to read candidate responses.

Candidates: Oregon Secretary of State

The term for Oregon Secretary of State is 4 years. The annual salary is $77,000.

We asked candidates for Oregon Secretary of State the same three questions:

  1. What criteria or factors would you use to make the right decisions for Oregon’s state forests?
  2. Do you support or oppose the creation of an independent redistricting commission? Why or why not?
  3. What, if any, steps, should the Secretary of State’s office take to improve election integrity and security?

Here are their replies, as received with no edits or corrections:

Swipe through to view all candidates. Click to read candidate responses.

Candidates: Oregon Treasurer

The term for Oregon Treasurer is 4 years. The annual salary is $77,000.

We asked candidates for Oregon Treasurer the same three questions:

  1. Would you support a state bank for Oregon? Why or why not?
  2. What criteria or factors would you use to make the right decisions for Oregon’s state forests?
  3. What ideas do you have for fulfilling the obligations of the PERS system?

Here are their replies, as received with no edits or corrections:

Swipe through to view all candidates. Click to read candidate responses.