Voters helping educate voters on proposed GMO measure

, Posted in Local, Politics, Posted: Mon, April 28 2014 at 10:28 PM, Updated: Mon, April 28 2014 at 11:20 PM

Medford, Ore. -- Measure 15-119, is a proposed ban on genetically modified crops on the upcoming May ballot.  The measure is complicated and is also a very controversial topic.

Executive Director of Healthy Democracy Oregon Tyrone Reitman said that's why they are in Jackson County to help "we decided ultimately that we wanted to go with probably the most complex issue we could find statewide which is 15-119."

Healthy Democracy Oregon is a non-profit aimed at educating voters and for the first time they're working at a local level. Reitman said "we saw it as a great opportunity to provide a very meaningful public service for the voters of Jackson County.

Here in Medford, they have recruited representatives on both sides of the local ballot issue. They are helping educate a panel of 20 randomly chosen Jackson County Residents before the May election. Reitman said "it's balanced in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, party registration, and where you live."

 "I have watched the process and been involved and observed what they have done, I am really impressed," said Barbara Davidson of the Rogue Valley Women Voters League. Her volunteer group has been helping with the process. "We are doing some really good things to help our citizens understand what is going on when we have ballot initiatives.".

Cameras were not allowed inside because panelists identities are being kept secret for fear of attempted sway from partisan groups. Hearing from both sides, the panel will come up with their own pros and cons of the initiative before releasing their findings to the public.

Tuesday is part two of a three day process.  The findings will be released Wednesday by Healthy Democracy on their website.

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