LWV Positions on 2020 Ballot Measures

Advocacy vs Education

Several of the Ballot Measures in the November 2020 General Election address community issues that the League has studied. Sometimes, we have spent years advocating for the changes proposed by these measures. Thus, the Boards of Directors of the Leagues of Women Voters of Portland and of the LWV of Oregon have voted to speak out in favor of some the measures in the coming election. See the list below to read about why we support the measures.

NOTE: We keep our advocacy activities separate from our educational activities. Our Education Fund always provides balanced election information to voters. Our voters guides present the pros and cons on the measures and nonpartisan information on candidates for every election. You can find links to that information here.

The Measures we support

LWVPDX priorities

The LWVPDX Board strongly supports two of the measures which have been a focus for League advocacy for a number of years. We have paid to submit statements in the Multnomah County Voters’ Pamphlet urging a vote for these measures. They are:

Ballot Measure 26-217 “Amends Charter: Authorizes new, independent community police oversight board.” SUPPORT  Here is a link to our Voters’ Pamphlet Statement about Measure 26-217. The Portland League has spoken out for years on the need for citizen involvement in police oversight. Our Voters’ Pamphlet Statement says in part that this measure “is an important first step towards a truly independent and empowered oversight system. The proposal includes the essential features of the independent civilian agency the community has been seeking for years…Once all the pieces are in place, we will have a vastly improved system independent from other city bureaus and elected officials.  The new system will remedy the historical challenges to holding police accountable…” 

Ballot Measure 26-214 “Establishes tuition-free preschool program, higher earners income tax funding.” SUPPORT  Here is a link to our Voters’ Pamphlet Statement about Measure 26-214. We have studied early childhood education and have strong positions supporting early learning. Our statement says in part, “The League believes government has the responsibility to provide an equitable, quality public education for all children from preschool through grade 12.  A quality public education is essential for a strong, viable, and sustainable democratic society and is a civil right…Research shows that children who participated in preschool programs are better prepared to start kindergarten, more likely to graduate from high school, and less likely to become involved in the justice system.”

Other local measures we support

Ballot Measure 26-211 – “Bonds to Expand, Renovate, Construct Library Branches, Facilities; Increase Safety.”  SUPPORT, based on our Multnomah County Library System position: “We support the library as a basic community service with an assured, stable and adequate source of funding.” You can read more of our library position here.


Ballot Measure 26-213 “Restore recreation programs, parks, nature, water through five-year levy.” SUPPORT, based on our City of Portland Planning Position which supports, “A visually attractive urban community with a sustainable and healthful environment…Quality infrastructure and public facilities designed to meet the needs of residents and businesses.” Our LWV  positions on the environment and urban policy also support the proposals in this measure to preserve habitat, improve water quality, remove invasive species, control erosion, and plant trees in low canopy areas.

Ballot Measure 26-215 “Bonds to Improve Health, Safety, Learning by Modernizing, Repairing Schools.” SUPPORT, based on our Public School Districts in Portland position which states, “The League of Women Voters believes that public schools should provide a quality education for all children to develop the greatest potential in each individual, and that public education is critical to the success of our city.” Among the factors that we believe are important to providing a quality education are “Adequate physical facilities, with buildings and all facilities meeting state and local standards.”

LWV of Oregon Positions on state ballot measures

The LWVOR Board takes these positions for Oregon November 2020 ballot measures.

Measure 107: Campaign Finance – SUPPORT

“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.” Campaign finance reform has been an issue at all levels of government elections for many years. LWVOR has supported contribution limits for local and state elections whenever there has been the opportunity. This is a referral from the Legislature and is a Constitutional amendment. Until a recent Oregon Supreme Court decision, courts had held that the Constitution’s free-speech provision was contrary to contribution limits. This ballot measure will make sure that campaign contributions are not speech and that campaign contribution limits may be imposed.

Measure 108: tobacco taxes – SUPPORT

Another legislative referral, that “Increases cigarette and cigar taxes. Establishes tax on e-cigarettes and nicotine vaping devices. Funds health programs.” It will help to stop some young people from taking up unhealthful habits. Oregon’s taxes on these items are below those in Washington and California. This will raise the taxes to be on a par with those states.

Measure 109: psilocybin  –  NO POSITION

“Allows manufacture, delivery, administration of psilocybin at supervised, licensed facilities; imposes two-year development period.” The League has no position to support or oppose this ballot measure.

Measure 110: decriminalizing, then funding addiction treatment  –  SUPPORT

Finally, after much conversation, the Board voted to support. This measure states, “Provides statewide addiction/recovery services; marijuana taxes partially finance; reclassifies possession/penalties for specified drugs.” The League has several positions on which to base our support, including:

LWVOR Health Policy, Adult Mental Health in Oregon (1987, 2001, 2008): This position states that the mental health delivery system should include adults with alcohol and drug addiction and that the concept of care, treatment, and support should occur “in the least restrictive environment possible.”

LWVUS Sentencing Policy (2012): Alternatives to imprisonment should be explored and utilized, taking into consideration the circumstances and nature of the crime. LWVUS opposes mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses.”

LWVUS Principle: “No person or group should suffer legal, economic, or administrative discrimination.”

There is a long list of organizations working toward racial justice that support this measure. The Board concluded that because people of color make up a disproportionate group of those who are incarcerated, many for drug related charges, the League should stand in solidarity with them in supporting this ballot measure.

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