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.
Measure 107 removes the Oregon Constitution's protections for political speech, leaving us with just the federal protections from the U.S. Constitution.
How secure do you think those federal protections are?
If this ballot measure passes, and then President Trump or some terrible future President packs the U.S. Supreme Court until they say you don't have the right to protest, or don't have the right to criticize elected officials, are you prepared to let it all go?
What if there is a constitutional convention someday and the other states (whose constitutions still protect political speech) let the First Amendment be weakened? Too bad, Oregon?
No! Don't accept that. The Oregon Constitution should continue to protect our rights, even if — perhaps especially if — the federal government goes off the rails.
A huge problem with this ballot measure is that it doesn't constrain the government's power. If the First Amendment went away, political expenditure limits could legally be set to zero and everyone would completely lose their right to engage in political speech.
(You couldn't get it back — it would be impossible to pursue a ballot initiative if you couldn't buy paper to collect signatures on!)
That's nuts! Don't outsource your most precious rights to the federal government. It isn't redundant for the Oregon Constitution to protect your rights, too — it's a responsible insurance policy.
Today, the Oregon Constitution independently protects your right to engage in political expression. If this ballot measure passes, that's gone, leaving nothing left.
Even if you want contribution and expenditure limits, it is wrong to give the government unchecked authority to set limits as low as it wants and to decide what kinds of electioneering to limit. What could be sold as a ban on expenditures for negative campaigning would obviously become a ban on criticizing elected officials. Goodbye, investigative journalism.
Political expression needs to be protected in the Oregon Constitution. This measure is just too dangerous. Vote NO.
All of my other arguments against Measure 107 are available online.