By Associated Press • 

Independent Party eager to be confirmed as newest big party

SALEM — The Independent Party of Oregon said it wants the secretary of state to quickly certify the party, after it picked up enough members last month to qualify as a major political party.

State law sets a mid-August deadline for Secretary of State Kate Brown to recognize a new major party, The Bulletin reported. Brown has asked for an opinion from Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on how to move forward.

Party officials said they hope she'll do it soon so they can prepare for 2016 elections. The longer Brown waits, they say, the less time the party has to get ready.

“As long as our major-party status has not been determined by the secretary of state, then anyone who is considering a candidacy in an Independent Party primary is sort of in limbo,” said Dan Meek, the party's co-chair.

The secretary of state's office said it's not every day a minor party becomes major and the process isn't cut and dry. “We are looking into when is the correct time to conduct a formal recognition process,” said Brown's spokesman, Tony Green.

Waiting until August could hurt the party's ability to attract serious candidates because state law requires candidates in major-party primaries to be members of the party for 180 days before the filing deadline, or about eight months before the primary, Meek said.

In testimony to the Legislature last week, Meek wrote that the eight-month requirement will be “a large barrier to participation by political novices who are not likely to plan to run more than eight months in advance of the primary election.”

The party says it has about 108,870 members, giving it 5 percent of the state's registered voters. That's the threshold for becoming a major political party.

Considering the party's growth in recent years, former Secretary of State Phil Keisling said he was surprised to hear Brown's office didn't have a decision ready when the party hit that threshold.

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Information from: The Bulletin

Comments

Don Dix

It would seem that the Sec. of State office has reason to delay -- more candidates equals more competition -- can't have some offshoot party taking votes away from the status quo, now can we?

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