Oregonians vote on controversial new measures for the 2014 general election

By Sydney Dauphinais, Staff Writer

These days, it seems as if you can’t escape the steady bombardment of different commercials saying, “Vote ‘yes’ on Measure 92!” or “Vote ‘no’ for Measure 86!”.  All of the one-sided, persuasive broadcasts can make it difficult to understand what these measures really entail. It’s important to know about what’s going on with the state legislature and what’s on the ballot, even if you’re not old enough to vote. The general election day for this year is on Tuesday, November 4th, and Oregon voters will be voting on some controversial issues.

Oregonians will have the opportunity to vote on Measure 92, which requires labeling of food products that contain genetically modified organisms, or GMO’s. GMO’s are a result of a laboratory process where genes from a DNA of a species (e.g. viruses, bacteria, insects, animals, and occasionally humans) are extracted and artificially forced into an unrelated plant or animal to assist growth. As unfortunate as that may sound, 80% of the food eaten in the United States contains GMO’s.  They can be found in most cereals, canned soups, frozen foods, meat, and milk. People voting yes on the measure say that it’s important to know what you’re eating. However, in opposition of measure 92, the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review Panel came to the conclusion that the measure is misleading because the labels, “wouldn’t provide reliable enough information” and “wouldn’t provide any information about which ingredients are made with genetic engineering, or how much GMO content is in the product”.

Measure 88 allows people who can not prove legal United States citizenship to uphold a four year drivers license. In order to get the card, residents will need to pass a written test, pass a driving test, show proof of residency, identity, and date of birth. “The drivers card will benefit those who are contributing to Oregon’s economy and are the backbone of some of our major industries,” says Governor John Kitzhaber, in full support of the measure. “These are members of our community, these are our friends, our neighbors, our coworkers, and they are hard workers and they deserve the right to legally drive.” Without Measure 88, proof of citizenship is necessary in order to obtain a drivers license. People in opposition of the measure say that not doing so is a gateway to illegal citizenship.

One of the most controversial and commonly misunderstood measures is Measure 92: the legalization of recreational marijuana sales and usage. If the measure is passed, then adults over the age of 21 will be able to legally possess up to eight ounces of marijuana and grow up to 4 marijuana plants in their home. The Oregon Liquor Control Commission will have primary overview over the sales of marijuana and will be taxing all sales  sold by marijuana users at wholesale. The revenues of the excise tax will then be distributed among the Common School Fund, the Mental Health Alcoholism and Drug Services Account, the State police account, local law enforcement agencies, and the Oregon Health Authority for alcohol and drug abuse services.

Among these measures, Oregonians will also have the opportunity to vote on other measures, like Measures 86, 87, 89 and 90. To learn about these, you can read about them online or in the 2014 Voters Pamphlet. The Voters Pamphlet is a great source of information on this years election and is available to everyone, even those not registered to vote.