Press Releases

Nearly Half of Independent Party of Oregon Members Don’t Know They Are Members of a Party, Three People Run All Party Operations

Jun 25, 2015


Greg Leo, Oregon Republican Party, 503-804-6391, greg [at] theleocompany [dot] com
Andrew Gorry, Democratic Party of Oregon, 503-239-8634, press [at] dpo [dot] org

PORTLAND, Oregon (June 25, 2015) – 

A newly-released survey by GBA Strategies shows a first-ever analysis of Independent Party of Oregon (IPO) members. The survey reveals that nearly half of all IPO members do not realize they are actually members of a party.

Key survey findings include:

  • Nearly half of voters currently enrolled with the Independent Party of Oregon do not realize they are registered that way.
  • Less than half of all IPO-affiliated voters say they would remain with the IPO if given the opportunity to re-register (47 percent).

“If only half of all Independent Party of Oregon members even know they’re members, what kind of political party is that?” said Frank Dixon, Chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon. “If we’re going to have major parties, we need to make sure their members actually intended to join, and that they are engaged and involved in democratic processes.”

This year, the IPO stands to qualify as Oregon’s third major party. Current registration totals show that the IPO will barely meet the state’s major party registration requirements. The GBA poll shows that if only the people who believed they were members of the IPO were counted for party status, the IPO would fall far short of the 5% of registered voters threshold needed to qualify as a major party. 

At a public informational hearing in the Oregon House of Representatives Rules Committee on Wednesday, IPO State Council member Dan Meek said, “The last thing that the Independent Party wants are members who don’t want to be members of the Independent Party.”

Adding to the concerns about the structure of the IPO, it was revealed at Wednesday’s hearing that in comparison to the transparent and open processes of other major parties, the Independent Party of Oregon has a closed system of internal governance, controlled by the same three people since its inception.

Many concerns were raised at the hearing about the party’s transparency and accessibility. In particular, concerns were raised about bylaws that allowed:

  • A small group, that is approved by party leaders, to select the people that appoint party leaders. This creates a closed loop system – so the IPO leadership has total control over who is elected to leadership.
  • Inconsistent application of rules that prohibit some candidates from participating in primaries.
  • Automatic election of leadership as the party moves from minor to major party status.

“Political parties should always allow for all members to openly and easily participate in party decisions,” said Rep. Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis). “If the decisions that affect hundreds of thousands of people are made by the same three people behind closed doors – that’s not a party, it’s a problem.”

Oregon’s other major parties also testified at the hearing, describing the democratic processes they use to engage voters, elect leaders, and select candidates.

“Oregon’s current major political parties involve thousands of community leaders throughout our state.  The Oregon Republican Party's organizational structure assures that many people have the opportunity to help make Oregon a better place,” said Bill Currier, Chair of the Oregon Republican Party.  “A strong and engaged grassroots involvement is essential to the political vitality of Oregon.”

Read the survey:



Splash Image
Splash Image