Oregon Constitution Article II, Section 16: "Provision may be made by law for the voter’s direct or indirect expression of his first, second or additional choices among the candidates for any office."
Ranked choice voting can be used for single-seat elections in a version called Instant Runoff Voting, and can also be used for electing multiple candidates from a single district using a form of proportional representation called the Single Transferable Vote. (Proportional representation is also permitted in Article II, Section 16 of the Oregon Constitution.)
Ranked choice voting has multiple benefits:
- Allows voters greater freedom to vote for their true first choice
- Reduces the possibility of a "spoiler" election
- Is fairer to alternative parties and independent candidates
- Often results in more positive election campaigns
Voters rank the candidates on their ballots. If a candidate receives a majority (more than half) of the first place votes, that candidate wins. But unlike our current form of elections, if no candidate receives a majority there is no winner yet. Instead, there is another round of vote counting in which the last place candidate is eliminated. If your candidate came in last, your vote goes to your next highest choice. If your first choice is still in the race, your vote goes to your first choice. The rounds of vote counting repeat until a candidate receives a majority of the votes on ballots with candidates still in the race.
Ranked choice voting is used in a number of cities and counties across the U.S., as well as in some other nations. An initiative to use RCV in county elections in Benton County, Oregon, passed in 2016, as well as an initiative to bring RCV to most federal and state elections in Maine.
RCV Oregon is also studying a new method of voting called Score Runoff Voting, recently renamed Star Voting (for "Score + Automatic Runoff). SRV allows voters to give a score to each candidate on a scale of 0-5, from "no support" to "most support." The two candidates with the highest cumulative scores then go to an "instant runoff" in which the candidate ranked higher by more voters wins. It combines scoring and ranking forms of vote counting and proponents claim that it improves upon Instant Runoff Voting. See the Equal Vote Coalition website for more information.
RCV Oregon will provide news and analysis on efforts to bring forms of preference voting to Oregon elections. Our ultimate aim is to bring preference voting to state and federal offices in Oregon. We invite you to join our conversation by signing up and by visiting our social media sites. See our Facebook pages: Ranked Choice Voting for Oregon and Ranked Choice Voting for Oregon - Discussion. More in-depth discussions can be found on our Loomio page.
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