As the Libertarian Party of Oregon’s Nominee for Governor of Oregon, appearing on the November ballot, I have decided to switch my vote on Measure 88, the so-called Drivers Card Veto Referendum, from NO to YES, and to change my recommendation, from a NO vote, to YES or abstain. A YES vote affirms the legislature’s passage of the Drivers Card Bill, a NO vote vetoes it.
I had voted NO in the Libertarian Party of Oregon’s Primary because I felt quite strongly that the laws of the land should be obeyed, and we should not be facilitating the residence of people here illegally.
But the other day, a States’ Rights argument came to mind that ran like this: Enforcing immigration laws is a Federal Responsibility, and, given the unfailing competence of the Federal Government, I would have to assume that every person I see on the street is here legally. As Governor, my responsibility under Article 1 Section 1 of the Oregon Constitution would be first for the safety and security of the People. Therefore, in the interests of public safety, I would only have the responsibility of testing the driving competence of people, but have no responsibility for proving whether they were citizens or not. This would be to usurp a Federal function and responsibility, to overstep my legal demarcation. Therefore, showing proof of Citizenship or legal residence in the U.S. should have nothing to do with my issuing a drivers card, virtually equivalent to a drivers license, to those who passed that competence test. Such test might well save a handful of lives over the four years of my administration, and that would be enough to justify this Measure’s enactment, in my opinion. (I realize there are purist Libertarians who feel that requiring drivers licenses is a violation of their Constitutional Rights under the Declaration of Independence, and their arguments have merits.)
But there is another issue, that of American Citizens who, for some reason, cannot obtain, or easily obtain, their birth certificates, who are denied a license in Oregon. I know such a gentleman, an 85-year-old veteran of WWII and Korea, who was born on the N. Dakota-Minnesota border, and who, after writing to one State, was referred to the other State, and then the other State referred him back to the first. This elderly man, with no knowledge of the internet, might have to go to Minnesota to clear it up, and this despite showing Oregon State his expired CA drivers licenses and military discharge papers. Passing this Measure would correct this absurd Injustice.
In short, Measure 88 is a State’s Rights matter, and the responsibility to prove legal residence or Citizenship is a Federal matter. The Federal Government should not be usurping the energies of Oregon DMV assistants in ascertaining what is a Federal Responsibility. That is theft of Oregon taxpayer’s money in the form of wages paid to those assistants during that time spent on citizenship certification.
So, I’m going to vote YES on Measure 88, and suggest a YES vote or an abstention. That’s a matter between your conscience and the ballot box.
Paul Grad, Libertarian, for Oregon Governor