Ranked Choice Voting Group Organizing in Portland

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More than 25 Ranked Choice Voting enthusiasts met in Portland on Saturday, December 3rd. Energy was high in the room due to the recent RCV wins in Benton County, Oregon, and in Maine. The group decided to organize for a possible local RCV initiative and to explore ties with a statewide network, RCV Oregon.

Alan Zundel and Mike Alfoni were there to share their insights and answer questions. Alan was actively involved in the early planning for the Benton County campaign and heavily involved in the signature gathering phase. Mike came on board as campaign manager at about that point to guide the campaign to success.

Alan recommended signature gathering for an initiative rather than referral from a legislative body as a way to educate the public and demonstrate public support. Key to success was having an elected official, state representative Dan Rayfield, taking a lead in the campaign, as well as funding from the national Fairvote organization. Alan thought that a twin approach of preparing another local initiative and also assessing the possibility of a statewide measure was a good idea.

Mike cautioned that a lot of groups going off in different directions would be detrimental, and that a statewide initiative would be very difficult and require and lot of fund raising and coalition building. He said raising money and doing a poll would be a necessary step.

Discussion ensued on which groups could be brought into a coalition and how to determine which office(s) to target. Alan informed the group of his statewide network, RCV Oregon, as an entry point to discussing statewide initiative feasibility.

The group formed two committees, one with Mike involved to create an organizational structure, and another to begin research for determining where to focus local efforts.

The group can be contacted through their Facebook page, Ranked Choice Voting Portland.

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  • commented 2016-12-08 14:46:09 -0800
    I agree with you, Brian, on the use of PR for legislative bodies such as the Oregon State House or Senate, but that reform would be a very big leap. I am trying to focus our efforts on single-winner elected offices. —Alan Z.
  • commented 2016-12-07 15:06:27 -0800
    I am a fan of RCV however, an even better improvement would be Proportional Representation. I hope we take the time to consider both RCV and PR as we look towards electoral reform.

    Perhaps RCV is a necessary intermediate step and has merit wherever we vote in single winner elections. However, the gold standard for representation is PR, and we ought to consider that value of reaching for the gold standard at this time.

    Brian Setzler