An effort is underway to make Klamath County commissioner offices non-partisan elected positions. The League of Women Voters in Klamath County wants to put the issue on the ballot next May.
Eight of Nine commissioner candidates in Klamath County's May primary were republicans...and many democrats temporarily changed their party affiliation just so their vote would count.
Leslie Lowe of the League of Women Voters of Klamath County thinks having a non-partisan commissioner race would help to fix the problem...
"The entire county, then, in terms of registered voters, needs to be able to select who at a local level is going to manage the way we run our county."
Backers collected over 400 signatures urging the Klamath County commissioners to place the issue on the November ballot...but the commissioners rejected the idea last week.
"At some point, you have to draw a line." Says Klamath County Commissioner Dennis Linthicum. "Do you do it for ten signatures, or forty, or four hundred - or sixteen hundred?"
Lowe says the League of Women Voters will now work to collect those 1600 signatures by March to place the issue on the May ballot...
"Most recently, Coos County and Polk County have put it to the electorate, and the electorate at 75% chose to go with the non-partisan."
Commissioner Linthicum argues that parties help voters pick candidates that reflect their own views...
"I would be actually reluctant to run in a non-partisan world." Notes Linthicum. "Because you don't really know the philosophic foundations for the individual that you're campaigning against."
But, it's a strong possibility that voters will have the final word.
Republicans outnumber Democrats in Klamath County by about a two-to-one margin.
Lone Democratic candidate Ted Lindow has withdrawn from the race for commissioner position #1...
Republican Tom Mallams will face Independent Party challenger Kirk Oakes in that race.