October 8, 2018-
Oregon voters love to tinker with the state’s constitution — hardly an election goes by without a constitutional amendment (or two or three or five) on the ballot. And certainly, there is good cause, from time to time, to update the document that outlines the fundamental structure of the state’s government, especially considering the constitution was first adopted in 1857.
But, still, constitutional amendments need to clear a higher bar than mere statutory measures: After all, we’re talking about changing the constitution — and once a provision is ensconced in that document, it can be difficult to remove or fix. The Legislature cannot amend the constitution. That can be done only through a vote of the people. So that’s one measuring stick voters can use to determine the merits of proposed constitutional amendments. Here’s another one: Does the proposed constitutional amendment appear to be so narrowly constructed as to benefit one particular interest? If so, that’s a red flag for voters as they consider how to vote on the measure.