Selling Out: The League of Women Voters and Measure 97


Think you can trust the League of Women Voters for objective views on political issues?

The national League of Women Voters began in 1920, six months before the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote.

It defined itself as a nonpartisan group eager to assist women in carrying out their new responsibilities as voters.

“League founders believed that maintaining a nonpartisan stance would protect the fledgling organization from becoming mired in the party politics of the day… This holds true today,” the organization says on its website.

Not so much in Oregon.

In this election, with their full-throated support for Measure 97, the League of Women Voters of Oregon is just another special interest group on the liberal/progressive side of public policy.

Like the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, the League of Women Voters of Oregon is functioning as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party.


Alice Bartelt

You’ve probably seen the ubiquitous TV ads featuring Alice Bartelt, second Vice President, League of Women Voters of Oregon. She urges a Yes vote on Measure 97, saying it “…dedicates funding to education, health care and senior services.”

That’s false. Spurious. Bogus.

There is absolutely no guarantee the legislature will apply Measure 97 revenue to early childhood through grade 12 public education, healthcare and services for senior citizens as the measure states.

If Measure 97 is approved by voters, the Legislature can appropriate its revenues “in any way it chooses,” Legislative Counsel Dexter Johnson said in an Aug. 1 letter to Rep. John Davis, R-Wilsonville, a member of the House Committee on Revenue. Not only are Legislators “not bound by the spending requirements” of Measure 97, they can “simply ignore” them,” Johnson added.

What’s likely is that over time Measure 97 revenue would be spread around like honey in response to the wishes of individual legislators and pressure from self-serving special interests.

In other words, for an organization claiming it “…encourages informed and active participation in government…,” the League is engaging in outright deception.

And it’s doing so on somebody else’s dime. It’s not until the end of the ad that you see, in pale lettering, PAID FOR BY YES ON 97. In other words, the League is working with the unions and Democrats to advance a flawed tax measure.

A nonpartisan organization that avoids becoming mired in the party politics of the day?

I don’t think so.





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