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Press Release

    Huge Tax Increases Passed in Oregon by Only 10 Percent of Voters

    09/03/2008

    How democratic is it to allow huge, multi-million dollar property tax increases to be passed by only 10 percent of the voters; saddling every homeowner with huge tax increases that 90 percent of the voters did not support?

    That’s the issue the Double Majority was designed to address.

    Those opposed to the Double Majority often make the argument that only those who bother to vote should decide an issue. That logical sounding statement is really a red herring. The real issue is majority rule. Majority rule is the foundation of the American electoral system.

    Before the Double Majority, we had tyranny by a small activist minority. Here’s why:

    Currently, there are four election dates every year; one in March, May, September, and November.

    Voter turnout in General Elections, which are held in November of even numbered years, is usually well above 60 percent. Turnout for regular May primaries, is typically less than 40 percent and is heavily slanted towards the party with the “hottest” primary races.

    Turnout in the other six election dates is commonly in the 15-20 percent range.

    Before the Double Majority, governments liked to put their unpopular tax increases on the ballot in those other six elections. They needed low voter turnout to win.

    Before the Double Majority, people wondered how all those new taxes were passing when no one they knew voted for them. Truth is, almost no one did. With eighteen percent voter turnout, it only takes nine percent of the voters, plus one, for a small minority to pass a tax increase on everyone else. Ninety-one percent didn’t vote for the tax, but still it passed.

    The Double Majority ended politicians’ sneaky strategy for passing tax increases that most taxpayers did not support.

    Measure 56 takes us back to the un-American practice of allowing huge tax increases passed by only 10 percent of the voters.

    Please vote “No.”