Who is behind this?
Alan Zundel was a political science professor and has worked to promote Ranked Choice Voting since moving to Oregon ten years ago. He used his contacts from his RCVOregon blog, his work on the Benton County Ranked Choice Voting initiative, and his 2016 campaign for Oregon Secretary of State to initiate this network. Trisha Driscoll is, like Alan, a state officer in the Pacific Green Party, and she joined in to help develop a new website and social media infrastructure. The RCV Oregon network is now being shaped by people of various or no party affiliation from across the state who have entered into dialogue with us.
Alan and Trisha have established a Political Action Committee
with the Oregon Secretary of State to fund this website and to promote electoral reform efforts in Oregon. Contributions to this PAC may qualify for a tax credit of $50 (up to $100 if filing jointly) per the Oregon Political Tax Credit
Which is the best election method?
Voting experts have no consensus about what the "best" voting method is. Probably a majority of them regard preference voting or proportional representation systems as better than the plurality vote system commonly used in the United States. People will have different views about which of many possible goals are most important to achieve in a voting method. Empirical evidence and academic voting theory give us some guidance, but are not definitive. We plan to address the pros and cons of different methods as this website develops.
Are other voting methods constitutional?
In 1975 a Michigan circuit court determined that Ranked Choice Voting did not violate the "one person, one vote" legal doctrine. In January 2009 a county district judge dismissed a lawsuit that sought to stop Ranked Choice Voting from being implemented in Minneapolis MN, ruling that "there is insufficient evidence to conclude that instant runoff voting causes any citizen to be deprived of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws."
Ranked Choice Voting and Proportional Representation are explicitly permitted in Article II, Section 16, of the Oregon Constitution:
“Provision may be made by law for the voter’s direct or indirect expression of his [sic] first, second or additional choices among the candidates for any office. For an office which is filled by the election of one person it may be required by law that the person elected shall be the final choice of a majority of the electors voting for candidates for that office.”
STAR Voting has not yet been implemented for any election to public office, and so its constitutionality has not been tested.
Is Oregon's vote tabulation technology capable of handling other election systems?
Each of Oregon's 36 counties has its own vote tabulation machines. Some of these machines are capable of handling a Ranked Choice Voting or STAR Voting election with a change in their software, but many others are not yet capable of this. Vote tabulation machines need to be replaced with updated equipment every ten years or so, and many of Oregon's machines are due for replacement. Multi-Member Election Systems can be conducted using Oregon's current vote tabulation technology.
Are their currently any electoral reform efforts taking place in Oregon?
Separate efforts to bring Ranked Choice Voting and STAR Voting to elections in the Portland area were initiated in 2017, and a ballot measure to bring STAR Voting to elections to the Lane County Commission is being planned. Alan is also working on a plan to bring a Multi-Member Election System to elections to the Oregon legislature. Check our news page
for recent developments.