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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Voters Could Decide On 'Top Two' Primary System

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

Oregon voters might have the chance to overhaul the state's primary voting system this fall. Sponsors of an initiative to create a "top two" primary turned in six cases of signatures to the Oregon Secretary of State's office Monday.

The measure would let people vote in primaries even if they don't belong to a major political party. The top two vote getters would advance to the general election, regardless of party.

Chief petitioner Jim Kelly said it will give more Oregonians a part in the process.

"The common result is that you actually get people who are elected who tend to be more representative of their district as a whole, rather than the extreme partisans at either end of the spectrum," he said.

Nearly one in three Oregon voters doesn't belong to a major party and therefore can't vote in the primary. Washington and California have similar Top Two systems. Critics say they’re unpredictable and confusing to voters.