Seth Woolley's Blog

Occasional Musings

response to three letter abbreviations for parties on ballots(0)

Oregon Elections Director Trout,

It has been brought to my attention that the state wishes to replace our name, carefully chosen, "Pacific Green" with a three letter abbreviation, while the law that I helped pass (2009 SB326) and campaigned for clearly states, as you have been notified by others, that the actual name must be given on the ballot next to the candidate name.  I am not an attorney, but my plain reading indicates that this would be an illegal act, and we are considering taking legal action to ensure all parties are recognized by their full names as required by law.

The bill already handles the issue of space constraints by limiting cross-nominations to three names.  Since this issue was already addressed there is no need for you to pursue it further.

Furthermore, when the law was passed, the legislature was fully aware of the existing party names, and no party names are unreasonably long.  If this were an issue, the statute would have been made to address it.  The intent clearly was that the full names should thus be used.

If there are software problems, it is up to the counties to comply with the law and request software patches.  As a software engineer myself, I understand that this is a very reasonable process, and you should be spending your time actually fixing any supposed problems rather than depriving parties of their right to be placed recognizably on the ballot that they earned under law.  I understand that new software would need certification steps.  I suggest you begin the process as soon as possible to comply with the law.

If you do choose to violate the law, the abbreviation we request is PGP, but note that neither Pacific nor Green are identifiable in that abbreviation.  There truly is no three letter abbreviation that is readily recognized by Oregonians for our actual Party name.  Dem., Rep., and Ind. are fairly recognizable, but PGP is not.  A better alternative would be PacGrn, but you have limited it to three letters.

Ballots already cut off common formality words such as "Party", "of", and "Oregon" from most of the full party names.  If the problem is that there is a specific character limit, you should ask each candidate if they would like to assist the selection of a suitable abbreviation for all of their endorsing parties as the issue arises if there is an issue.

Cooperation would be a good way of ensuring that compromises can be made where a candidate can choose to accomodate an administrative error on your part for failing to prepare to comply with the law.

In 2012, I will likely be challenging your employer again in the general election.  If more issues like this come up, it would only provide more reason to question her selecting you as Oregon's Director of Elections, which I openly questioned when the appointment was made.

Seth Woolley Secretary, Pacific Green Party of Oregon 2008 Pacific Green Party of Oregon Secretary of State Candidate.

Seth Woolley's Blog

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