03-05-2024  3:22 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 10 May 2023

(Salem, Oregon) - Today, the Coalition of Communities of Color, Next Up Action Fund, and Oregon Ranked Choice Voting filed the Voter Choice Act, Initiative Petition 27, with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office. The Voter Choice Act will establish ranked choice voting for all federal, statewide, and legislative races in Oregon. If approved by voters at the November 2024 election, ranked choice voting would take effect for the 2026 election cycle.

“Oregon voters are frustrated, and dissatisfaction with elections is only getting worse. Voters are continuously being forced to vote strategically - and good potential candidates are often told not to run to avoid ‘splitting the vote.’

"We believe that candidates who get elected to office should represent Oregon’s diverse communities.

"Ranked choice voting both empowers voters with more choices, and encourages more candidates to run for office without fear of splitting the vote,” said chief petitioners Jenny Lee, Mike Alfoni, and Elona Wilson.

Recent polling, which reflects all demographics and voters across the state, shows that 64% of Oregonians support ranked choice voting. Moreover, this support increases as voters learn more about ranked choice voting.

What is ranked choice voting?

The Voter Choice Act will give voters a greater voice in federal, statewide, and legislative elections by giving Oregonians the option to rank candidates in their order of preference. The measure also provides guidance and a framework to assist local governments when they choose to adopt ranked choice voting for their local elections.

Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference: first choice, second choice, third choice, and so on. Ballots are counted in rounds. All first-choice votes are tallied. If a candidate receives more than 50% of the first-choice votes, that candidate wins. If no candidate initially gets over 50% of the first-choice votes, the candidate with the fewest votes is defeated, and those ballots are tallied for the voters’ next choice. This process happens instantly, and repeats until a candidate  receives more than 50% of the votes. 

The Oregon legislature is also considering legislation establishing ranked choice voting in federal and statewide races starting in 2028. That bill, HB 2004, is currently in the House Rules Committee and, if passed by both chambers, would be referred to voters for the 2024 election. 

“We know voters - especially people of color, working-class people, rural residents, and young people - are losing trust in our elections. Ranked choice voting is one step towards restoring that trust,” said Sol Mora, Advocacy Director at the Coalition of Communities of Color and lead organizer for the statewide coalition of 35+ organizations supporting HB 2004. “We are excited that if the legislature fails to act and refer this critical reform, voters will still have the option to decide on ranked choice voting through the Voter Choice Act.”

The next step for the Voter Choice Act is the collection and verification of 1000 sponsorship signatures. After that, the Attorney General’s office will draft and file a proposed ballot title for the initiative.

For the text of the initiative go to: https://sos.oregon.gov/admin/Documents/irr/2024/027text.pdf.

For House Bill 2004: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2023R1/Measures/Overview/HB2004.

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