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paign, and which can not be turned against its author; for what shall it avail him to fire a shot heard "round the state" if his projectile prove of the boomerang order!
These provisions in the primary election law make it possible for the voter to favor the candidate who puts himself most straightforwardly before the people in his personal statement. The other innovation which Oregon has introduced is much more far-reaching in its recognition of the state's educational function in preparing the voter for his task; it aims to put into his hand the data for making up his mind upon measures which are to be voted upon. This is a matter of no slight moment in a community where frequent recourse is had to the people for the enactment of laws. The provision in question is a part of the statute regulating the use of the initiative and referendum. It was first enacted in 1903, and has been suggestively modified by the legislature of the present year.
Other states have recognized it as a duty to furnish free text-books to pupils from the lowest primary grade up through the high school. Oregon has decided to furnish a free text-book to her adult pupils who are at the same time her rulers. The secretary of state is made the compiler and distributor of this text-book.
The law makes the following provisions:
The secretary of state shall cause to be printed in pamphlet form a true copy of the title and text of each measure to be submitted (at the next general election) with the number and form in which the ballot title thereof will be printed on the official ballot. The person, committee or duly authorized officers of any organization filing any petition for the initiative, but no other person or organization, shall have the right to file with the secretary of state for printing and distribution any argument advocating such measure. Any person, committee or organization may file with the secretary of state, for printing and distribution, any arguments they may desire, opposing any measure. But in every case the person or persons offering such arguments for printing and distribution shall pay to the secretary of state sufficient money to pay all the expenses for paper and printing to supply one copy with
every copy of the measure to be printed by the state; and he shall forthwith notify the persons offering the same of the amount of money necessary. The secretary of state shall cause one copy of each of said arguments to be bound in the pamphlet copy of the measures to be submitted as herein provided, and all such measures and arguments to be submitted at one election shall be bound together in a single pamphlet. All the printing shall be done by the state. The title page of each argument shall show the measure or measures it favors or opposes and by what person or organization it is issued. When such arguments are printed he shall pay the state printer therefor from the money deposited with him and refund the surplus, if any, to the party who paid it to him. The cost of printing, binding and distributing the measures proposed, and of binding and distributing the arguments, shall be paid by the state as a part of the state printing, it being intended that only the cost of paper and printing the arguments shall be paid by the parties presenting the same, and they shall not be charged any higher rate for such work than is paid by the state for similar work and paper. Not later than the fifty-fifth day before the regular general election at which such measures are to be voted upon, the secretary of state shall transmit by mail, with postage fully prepaid, to every voter in the state whose address he may have, one copy of such pamphlet; provided, that if the secretary shall, at or about the same time, be mailing any pamphlet to every voter, he may, if practicable, bind the matter herein provided for in the first part of said pamphlet.
How does the scheme work? There has as yet been no opportunity to test the new provisions that have been embodied in the law this year; but the general election of 1906 found the plan in operation in its main features, at least, and the results throw some light upon the problem. In that election there were presented to the people of the entire state ten separate measures proposed by initiative petition and one which had been proposed by referendum petition. In some of the counties there were also local initiative propositions. When it is stated that these measures formed the tail-piece to a ballot on which were the names of 86 candidates for 27 offices, there can be no question that this was the Oregon voter's busy day; but our present concern is not with the voting, but with the preparation for it, with the voter's special education for this
service. The text-book had been distributed months before election day. Nine of the measures were sent out to the voters unaccompanied by any arguments, no one apparently being sufficiently interested to go to the trouble and expense of defending or attacking them. On these matters, then, the state distributed no opinions, but it did put into every voter's hand the precise propositions. Each of these measures had a title-page in prescribed form, which told, also, precisely how the measure would appear upon the ballot, for example:
PROPOSED BY INITIATIVE PETITION.
For Equal Suffrage Constitutional Amendment. Vote Yes or No.
302 Yes. 303 No.
The proposed laws varied in length from one-third of a page to ten pages, each page containing about 350 words. The one measure which was presented to the voters accompanied by arguments was a so-called "equal suffrage amendment" to the state constitution. With this were bound up a seven-page argument in its favor, issued by the "Oregon Equal Suffrage Association," and a twenty-three page argument against the amendment, issued by the "Oregon State Association Opposed to the Extension of Suffrage to Women." Each of these pamphlets presented a forceful array of arguments; in fact, it would not be easy to find elsewhere in so few pages a more cogent statement of both sides of this question than was here placed in the hands of every Oregon voter, two months before the election. The vote upon this question stood: Yes, 36,902; No, 47,075.
The text-book for this election, then, comprised about sixty pages of copies of proposed laws and of political discussion. Had these pamphlets been sent out by mail, as is to be done under the existing law, the postage on each would have been three cents, making a total of about $4,300
for placing them in the hands of all the voters of the state. It is evident, therefore, that the supplying of free textbooks to voters is a somewhat costly enterprise. Whether it is worth while or not depends upon its results. An Oregon correspondent, who during his first year or two of residence in the state had been distinctly of the opinion that the people would not show enough interest or intelligence to make a success of direct legislation, spent the weeks before this election in a little hamlet on the western slope of the Cascades. He writes:
I was greatly interested in the attitude of the people. At the general store (and post-office) there was an impromptu debating society, and men and measures were discussed with pungency. There was distributed a good amount of literature (the text-book), giving clear statements as well as partisan arguments concerning the different measures. Sample ballots were distributed also. There can be no question of the fact that the voters were much interested, and the more intelligent ones had a sense of responsibility which made them express themselves with a good deal of emphasis.
When election day came, the fact of the people's interest was convincingly shown. The total number of votes cast was 99,445. The initiative measure which called for most discussion was the suffrage amendment, and upon this 84 per cent. of the voters expressed their opinions. On the question of taxing the gross earnings of public-service corporations 77 per cent. voted; while even the one of these questions which evoked least interest received the votes of 64 per cent. The average vote in law-making and constitution-amending was 74.5 per cent. The high ratio which these votes bear to the votes cast for state officers is in contrast with the ratio in many other states. In Massachusetts, in 1896, there was referred to the people a proposed change from annual to biennial elections; not more than 73 per cent. of those who had voted for governor, and less than 58 per cent. of the registered voters of the state, expressed an opinion upon this question. Even in Switzerland, the home of the referendum, this same indifference is
to be found. "At national referenda, which excite a greater interest, the average proportion of voters who go to the polls is less than sixty per cent., and no law has ever been ratified by a majority of the qualified voters."
In the future working of the law it may prove necessary to place some restrictions upon the publication of material submitted for the voters' text-books. Who is to decide. what shall go into such pamphlets? At present the secretary of state is charged with the duty of compiling them. Apparently he has no discretion in the matter; he must cause to be printed and distributed any matter that may be filed with him by one party in favor of a given measure, and by any number of parties in opposition thereto, provided only the interested parties stand ready to pay for the printing and paper necessary to supply every voter of the state with
To discriminate between that which is and that which is not proper material for the state to put in the hands of its voters would be a delicate and perhaps dangerous task; but it is not clear that such discrimination may not prove desirable. Certainly there would be no impropriety or unfairness in the state's placing a limit upon the amount of printed matter which it will distribute for any one organization or upon any one measure. Indeed, such a limitation might prove a favor in disguise, since the effectiveness of campaign documents is ordinarily in inverse proportion to their bulk.
In these devices for the official publication and free distribution of political information and argument, is Oregon setting the pace for the campaigns of education of the future? The writer is not a convert to the idea that the increased use of the initiative and referendum in America is desirable. He not only believes that, in such varied communities as our states, the representative system has distinct advantages over direct democracy, but he would have members of the legislature genuine representatives, not mere delegates with ears to the ground. But if the work of law