Leading Secretary of State Candidates Refuse To Act for Fair Treatment

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, Republican Dennis Richardson and Democrat Brad Avakian, the leading candidates for Oregon Secretary of State, refused pleas to act on behalf of fair treatment of all candidates and parties.

Pacific Green Party candidate Alan Zundel confronted both men at the Portland studio of Oregon Public Broadcasting before the broadcast of an edition of “Think Out Loud” from which Zundel and other candidates had been excluded.

“OPB is a government-funded and tax-advantaged,” Zundel said of the encounter. “This means it should be held to a higher standard than other institutions, just as the Secretary of State should be held to the highest standard of fair treatment of all candidates and parties in an election.”

Zundel pointed this out to Avakian and Richardson, but they declined to take strong action on behalf of these principles.

“They said they would request that I be invited in, but they would not refuse to participate if I was not,” Zundel said. “They should have insisted that all candidates be invited when they were first asked, so they actually failed twice to act on behalf of fair treatment.”

Zundel had learned of the scheduled program just the previous day, when the two leading candidates mentioned it to him after a candidate forum in Eugene. He contacted OPB, but they rebuffed his request to allow the other candidates to participate, citing a need to limit the number of candidates interviewed.

“Dennis and Brad and I have participated in several candidate forums where all candidates were invited and things went perfectly fine,” Zundel said. “This putative need to limit candidate participation is completely phony, and they both know it.”

He added, “Before this I thought either man could do a good job as Secretary of State, and so focused my campaign on the need for electoral reform. Now I have serious doubts about them. If they won’t take a risk for fairness now, will they if one of them is elected?”

 

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4 Comments

  1. Brian Setzler
    Posted October 13, 2016 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I volunteer for Alan’s campaign and when I heard about this matter yesterday, I contacted OPB to see what they had to say. Below is my chat transcript:

    Brian Setzler:
    Why aren’t you including Green Party candidates in your debates? 6:47am

    10/12, 7:05am Oregon Public Broadcasting- OPB:

    Brian,

    Which debates are you referring to? We don’t have any control over the presidential debates. We just broadcast NPR’s coverage of those.

    Brian Setzler:
    Think out loud is covering Secretary of State, didn’t invite Green Party candidate Alan Zundel

    Oregon Public Broadcasting- OPB:

    Brian, Thank you for clarifying which debate you were concerned about. I’m going to have to check in with them when they get into the office later this morning. I’ll be back in touch once I have an answer.
    -Bryan V., OPB

    Brian Setzler:
    Please include all candidates who are out actively campaigning for office, like Alan. Please present all sides so voters can be informed. Don’t forget the PUBLIC in OPB.

    Oregon Public Broadcasting- OPB 10/12, 10:31am

    Hey Brian,
    Here’s what was provided to me from the show’s executive producer:

    “Our goal is always to provide an opportunity for fair and impartial conversations with candidates and about election issues. We are committed to providing unbiased information to voters and we take this responsibility very seriously. There are often many candidates that run for office in a particular race so we need to set some parameters to decide who to include. These criteria are used for all races. They include:

    ·Legally qualified to hold office under state/federal laws and on ballot.
    ·Poll 5% in a nonpartisan independent survey from a neutral party sponsor, such as a newspaper.
    ·Provide evidence that a formal campaign is being waged: presence of a headquarters, campaign staff and volunteers, issuance of position papers or campaign speeches, campaign appearances, significant campaign fund raising and spending, a campaign website, social media presence and followers, endorsements, etc…

    We appreciate hearing your concerns and look forward to working with you in the future.

    Best,
    Sage Van Wing”

    Brian Setzler:
    Which polls are you using? Can you share the results and data source?

    Brian Setzler:
    Here is some info on Alan. I think his voice would add something to the conversation.
    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Alan+Zundel+for+secretary+of+state&t=ffab&ia=videos&iai=A94K40CjMJo
    Alan Zundel for secretary of state at DuckDuckGo
    duckduckgo.com

    Brian Setzler:
    http://www.voteforalan.org/news/alan-among-green-party-candidates-to-watch/

    Alan Among “Green Party Candidates To Watch”
    Alan was recently featured by the national Green Party US as one of ten Green Party candidates to watch. Quoting the announcement: “Here are ten more inspirational ‘Green Candidates to …
    voteforalan.org

    Brian Setzler
    Did you ask Alan’s campaign to provide the evidence you require? Did you ask the other campaigns to provide similar evidence?

    Oregon Public Broadcasting- OPB

    Brian,
    Those are not questions I’m able to answer. You can email svanwing@opb.org if you have additional questions about the processes they used to determine the candidates they invited.
    Thanks,
    Bryan V., OPB

  2. Brian Setzler
    Posted October 13, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Dear Ms. Van Wing,

    I am a Green Party member and supporter and learned that you’ve not invited our candidate for Secretary of State Alan Zundel to an upcoming debate. I’m upset about what I perceive as a systemic bias against our party and candidates. Your staff sent this to me:

    “Our goal is always to provide an opportunity for fair and impartial conversations with candidates and about election issues. We are committed to providing unbiased information to voters and we take this responsibility very seriously. There are often many candidates that run for office in a particular race so we need to set some parameters to decide who to include. These criteria are used for all races.

    They include: •Legally qualified to hold office under state/federal laws and on ballot. •Poll 5% in a nonpartisan independent survey from a neutral party sponsor, such as a newspaper. •Provide evidence that a formal campaign is being waged: presence of a headquarters, campaign staff and volunteers, issuance of position papers or campaign speeches, campaign appearances, significant campaign fund raising and spending, a campaign website, social media presence and followers, endorsements, etc… We appreciate hearing your concerns and look forward to working with you in the future. Best, Sage Van Wing”

    In response, I had a couple follow up questions that they said they couldn’t answer, which is why I’m writing:
    1. Which polls did you use? Can you share the results and data source?
    2. Did you ask Alan’s campaign to provide the evidence you require?
    3. Did you ask the other campaigns to provide the evidence you require?

    Alan is running a formal campaign. He is traveling around the state, is raising money from PEOPLE (Greens don’t accept corporate contributions), he has volunteers, has made speeches, and campaign appearances, he has a website and a social media presence, and he has endorsements.

    I look forward to your reply.

    Sincerely,

    Brian Setzler
    Portland, OR

    • Joseph Hoover
      Posted October 15, 2016 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Brian, for your exemplary questions. They have been helpful.

  3. Brian Setzler
    Posted October 22, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Follow up: I made a 2nd request of Ms. Van Wing and never rec’d a reply or any acknowledgement.

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