The Latest: Oregon rejects measure banning grocery tax
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Latest on Election Day in Oregon (all times local):
Oregon voters have rejected a measure amending the state constitution to ban future taxes on groceries.
Measure 103 was trailing in returns Tuesday night.
Out-of-state grocery and beverage industry giants poured millions into the campaign for the measure, which was seen by many as a thinly veiled attempt to pre-empt a statewide soda tax.
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- a proponent of soda taxes in other places -- donated $1.5 million in the final two weeks before the election to the campaign against the grocery tax ban.
Opponents said the ballot measure’s language was confusing and would have created uncertainty about taxes on everything from restaurant meals to farming to the transportation of food to grocery stores.
Oregon voters have passed a measure that amends the state constitution to allow government entities to use revenue from affordable housing bonds toward public-private development partnerships.
Measure 102 was leading in returns Tuesday night.
The measure’s passage will give city and county governments more flexibility to work with private developers and non-profit organizations when developing much-needed affordable housing projects.
Until now, the government entity that used bond revenue for affordable housing had to retain complete ownership of the project, which limited the size of projects and the ability to secure more federal tax credits.
The measure was referred to votes by state lawmakers with bipartisan support and there was no major opposition to it.
Oregon voters have rejected a measure that amends the state constitution to require a legislative supermajority for bills that raises revenue through tax exemptions, deductions, credits or fees.
The measure’s failure means nothing changes.
Three-fifths of lawmakers in both legislative houses must approve bills that raise or impose new taxes but other ways of raising revenue -- such as trimming tax deductions -- still will only require a simple majority vote.
Those who opposed Measure 104 said it was an attempt to curb the power of Democrats, who currently hold the majority in both legislative houses.
Those in favor worried that state lawmakers would trim tax deductions and exemptions or increase fees to boost revenue.
Oregon voters have rejected a measure that would have repealed the state’s first-in-the-nation immigrant sanctuary law.
Measure 105 was trailing in returns Tuesday night.
Oregon became America’s first sanctuary state when it adopted a law in 1987 preventing law enforcement from detaining people who are in the United States illegally but have not broken other laws.
Supporters of Measure 105, the repeal measure, said the law shields people who have committed crimes from potential deportation.
Those who back the sanctuary law say it was passed to address racial profiling.
The measure has split law enforcement.
Oregon voters have rejected a measure prohibiting state funding for most abortions.
Measure 106 was trailing in returns Tuesday night. The measure’s failure leaves in place insurance coverage for abortions for women who received their health care through state Medicaid.
The federal government bans Medicaid funding for abortion, except in cases of rape or incest or to save a mother’s life.
Oregon is one of 17 states that uses its own money to provide abortions to women eligible for Medicaid.
Under Measure 106, the state Constitution would have allowed funding for abortion only if a woman is in danger of death because of her physical condition or in cases where funding is required under federal law, which now includes rape and incest.
Voters in Oregon had rejected funding bans in 1978 and 1986.
Oregon’s five congressional representatives have all been re-elected.
Democrats Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio and Kurt Schrader won Tuesday night.
The state’s long GOP House member, Greg Walden in eastern Oregon’s 2nd District, also prevailed. Walden’s Democratic opponent, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, had staged a long-shot bid to unseat Walden in the high desert, forests and mountains of the 70,000-square-mile (180,000- square-kilometer) district — the second-biggest in America among states with multiple districts.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has been re-elected, winning her first full term as leader of the Pacific Northwest state.
Brown bested Republican Knute Buehler, who proved to be a strong challenger in a state where the GOP has a difficult time winning high-profile offices.
Brown was first appointed governor in February 2015 after John Kitzhaber resigned. She easily was elected in her own right in 2016 to finish out the term of John Kitzhaber, who resigned amid accusations of influence peddling involving his fiancee.
The 58-year-old Brown was a long-time state lawmaker before becoming secretary of state in 2009.
Oregon’s least populous county has the biggest percentage turnout of voters.
The secretary of state’s office said that as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, 79.5 percent of Wheeler County voters had cast ballots.
The county’s population is around 1,300. Located in the high desert of central Oregon, the county seat is Fossil.
Statewide, voter turnout by 5 p.m. Tuesday was 57.6 percent with 1,592,223 ballots received
Democrats have a chance to win one more seat each in the state Senate and House in Tuesday’s election.
If they do that and hang onto existing seats, they’ll reach a three-fifths supermajority in both chambers. That would give them a better shot at increasing corporate taxes in a state where corporations pay one of the lowest rates in the nation.
Currently the Democrats hold a 35 to 25 seat edge in the House and the 17 to 13 advantage in the Senate.
The ballot box by City Hall in downtown Lake Oswego, Ore., was busy with a steady stream of voters coming by car and by foot to drop their ballots off. Some took selfies with their ballots before depositing them in the narrow slot.
Volunteer Linda Brown guided voters to the box and said it had been busy since she arrived at 7:30 am. Elections workers had already emptied the ballot box once by 9:30 am, she said.
“The ballot box has been overflowing. Ballots were overflowing. They had to pick them up and it took them quite a while to change it out because it was so full,” Brown said.
“Everybody who pulls away has a big smile on their face. Truly that’s the best part.”
Officials say half of all registered voters in Oregon still need to return their ballots to a secure drop-off location by the 8 p.m. Election Day voting deadline.
The Oregon Secretary of State’s office reports that 49 percent of the nearly 2.8 million voters have already been returned as of 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.
Wheeler County in central Oregon leads in early-bird voters, with 69 percent of ballots already received, while Portland’s Multnomah County barely beat the statewide average with its tally at 51.6 percent.
Oregon is an all vote-by-mail state.
Oregon voters will be picking a governor and deciding the fate of several high-profile measures, including one that would repeal the first-in-the nation immigrant sanctuary law.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Kate Brown has faced a tough challenge from Republican Rep. Knute Buehler. Public polls show Buehler behind Brown by a slim margin.
Supporters of Measure 105, the sanctuary repeal measure, say the law shields people who have committed crimes from potential deportation. Those who back the sanctuary law say it was passed to address racial profiling.
Other measures include Measure 106, an initiative that would ban state funding for most abortions and Measure 1-3, which asks people in Oregon will decide whether to amend the state Constitution to ban future taxes on groceries.
Oregon is an all vote-by-mail state. Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day