for Oregon Secretary of State
I published the following argument in opposition to Measure 107 in the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet for the 2020 General Election.
Campaign contribution and expenditure limits do not create a level playing field. They tilt it against the voices representing concentrated interests, which deserve a chance to be heard.
For example, a business with a small workforce whose continued existence is threatened by government regulation has a very small number of people interested in defending it. With low contribution limits per donor, and few donors, that business couldn't get its message to voters.
You've probably heard the old expression that "democracy is four wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch." Contribution and expenditure limits deny the sheep the right to argue it shouldn't be eaten. The sheep can't win the vote by itself, and if it isn't allowed to even try persuading the wolves, it's doomed. Is that fair?
It has been said that campaign finance reform is about restoring trust in the elections process. How could we trust a process that stifles or silences minority points of view?
There is already perfect equality at the ballot box: only individuals get to vote, and each vote counts equally. Concentrated interests are already hugely disadvantaged in elections. Their only political power is to try to persuade voters, and that's exactly what limits take away!
A level playing field is one where government doesn't prevent anyone from talking. We should not enact a policy designed to keep the electorate ignorant of a point of view. If certain policies or candidates don't win when the opposition presents a robust case, well, they deserved to lose.
Some might feel it's unfair that rich people can afford to speak more than others, but that isn't really a complaint about speech. Rich people can do more of almost everything than the rest of us. They might speak more, but speaking can only attempt to persuade voters. The votes are what count, and rich people only get one vote, just like everybody else.
Vote NO on Measure 107.
All of my other arguments against Measure 107 are available online.