Election Reform

Are Oregonian’s interested in election reform? What reforms are gaining traction (campaign finance, open primaries, ranked-choice voting)?

This summary report, including strategic considerations and recommendations, was completed by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center in partnership with the Yarg Foundation. This report is meant to assist the broader public with planning, policy-making, and communications about election reform. It incorporates quantitative and qualitative research findings from two OVBC studies:

  • A statewide survey (referred to herein as the “survey”), conducted of 1,807 Oregon residents ages 18 and up, conducted December 19, 2023, through January 7, 2024, with a margin of error of +/-2.3% for its full sample.  
  • A more extensive survey, the OVBC Typology Study (referred to herein as the “study”), was conducted from September 12, 2023, through October 23, 2023. This study, for which analysis and reporting remain ongoing, reached more than 3,600 respondents and had a margin of error of +/-1.6% for its full sample. 

The question numbers in this document correspond with the accompanying annotated questionnaire and tabs. Due to rounding, the percentages reported below may not add up to 100% or compare exactly to the percentages for the same question in the annotated questionnaire or tabs.  

Quotes from respondents’ open-ended comments are excerpted from a document entitled Anonymous Verbatims, which includes responses to “what comes to mind when you think about election reform in Oregon” (Typology Study Q37), “your biggest hope for your community” in 2024 (Survey Q6), “your biggest fear for our community” in 2024 (Survey Q7), “comments on any of the questions relating to elections and governance (Survey Q15), and “thoughts…about possible changes to our governance and current election systems in Oregon” (Survey Q24). 

OVBC surveys currently use aggregated data to analyze the opinions of BIPOC residents in comparison to the opinions of residents who identify as white and not another race. BIPOC residents are not monoliths; the grouping represents a wide diversity of races and ethnicities. The findings included in this memo should not be construed such that all people of color are believed to share the same opinions. Disaggregated race data will be provided when sample sizes permit reliability. 

For survey full question wording, all statistically significant subgroup findings (age, race/ethnicity, location, etc.), and respondent quotes, readers are encouraged to refer to the accompanying documents: (1) annotated questionnaire, (2) crosstabulations, and (3) verbatim written responses spreadsheet (upon request). A separate set of findings and analysis is presented for Portland residents, given their recent approval of a new system of elections and representation for the city. 

Oregon Values and Beliefs Center (OVBC): This research was completed as a community service by the Oregon Values and Beliefs Center. OVBC is an independent and non-partisan organization and an Oregon charitable nonprofit corporation. Representative OVBC projects include opinion research about race-based crimes for the Asian Health and Service Center, as well as research about early childhood education and the cost of childcare for the Children’s Institute. 

The Yarg Foundation: Operating in Oregon, The Yarg Foundation is a family foundation promoting social equity and representing both rural and urban parts of the state. 

Support for Changes to Government Systems, Many are “Reform Curious” as opposed to “Reform Ready”

  • A majority of Oregonians are dissatisfied with the structure of elections, the conduct of campaigns, the role of political parties, and the effectiveness of their representatives in state and local government. They are open to reforms in all of these areas at both the state and local levels, with some reform ideas the majority wants enacted, while other ideas are only beginning to gain traction. 

  • Reform Curious: 
    • Oregonians statewide are interested in major changes in how we elect our representatives and how we might restructure our system of representation at both the state and local levels. Ranked choice voting heads their list for election reform, while the concept of multi-member districts captures their interest for changes in system-wide representation.  
    • Interest in reforms in these areas is just developing, meaning Oregonians are “reform curious” but not yet “reform ready,” despite Portlander’s recent launch of these reforms.  
  •  Reform Ready: 
    • Support for campaign finance reform appears to have matured to the point that supporters have the wind at their backs with initiative petitions that are circulating for the November 2024 ballot that would limit contributions to candidates.  
    • Also, those who reject the closed party primary system coalesce around the more familiar concept of simply opening the major party primaries to all voters, but they split over reforms like “top two” primaries. 

Concerns About Social and Political Divisions

(Survey Questions 1-5, Typology Study Questions 1-5) 

  • Our survey identified Oregonians’ views of how things are going in their communities (44% right direction, 49% wrong track) and their feelings about the upcoming year (52% optimistic, 45% not).  
  • By comparison, our Typology study asked in what direction the state (41% right direction, 53% wrong track) and nation (27% right direction, 69% wrong track) were headed toward.  
    • In general, our surveys over the years have found more negativity about how things are going at the national level, but less at the state level and community level. 

  • Concerns about social and political divisions remain top of mind for respondents regardless of their right track/wrong track perceptions and their hopes for 2024.  

“The political climate is so divided, nobody can work for the better of the state…” 

Woman, age 55-64, Deschutes County, White, Republican

Petty mudslinging in political arenas is a depressing waste of time, energy and money… 

Woman, age 75+, Lane County, White, Democrat

“Politicians need to be better about compromising and working across party lines. This pettiness that exists between parties is harmful and not helpful to anyone…” 

Man, age 30-44, Multnomah County, Hispanic or Latino, Democrat 

  • In our survey, roughly three out of four respondents think their community is socially and politically divided (74%) and are worried about these divisions (77%).  
  • Views on whether “your community can come together and bridge this divide” reflect a great uncertainty: 35% think they can, 27% think they can’t, while a plurality (38%) can’t decide one way or the other. 
  • The Typology study found nearly identical levels of concern for the state as a whole: 74% of respondents perceived the state as socially and politically divided. 82% reported they were worried about these divisions, and 36% thought “We can come together and bridge this divide.” 

  • Even with a little less “wrong track” feeling and some notable optimism at the local level, the wounds of social and political division have not healed. The perceptions of these divisions and a low level of confidence in the ability to mend them are evident in responses to both the survey and the Typology study in regard to local communities and the state as a whole. 

Support for Government Contrasts with Negative Outlook on its Efficiency

(Typology Study Questions 6, 7, 11, 12, 34, and 35.) 

  • Oregonians generally support an activist government. Our Typology study found solid majorities in favor of: 
    • “A bigger government providing more services” (59%) over a “smaller government providing fewer services” (41%); 
    • Government regulation of business as “necessary to protect the public interest” (59%) rather than doing “more harm than good” (41%), and, 
    • Stronger environmental laws and regulations as “worth the cost” (63%) rather than “cost(ing) too many jobs and hurt(ing) the economy” (37%). 
    • Strengthening rather than relaxing our current land use (68%) and environmental protections (75%). 

  • But Oregonians are not happy with the government they have. Almost six in ten (57%) respondents in the Typology study thought that “government is almost always wasteful and inefficient,” while only four in ten (43%) grant that “government often does a better job than people give it credit for.” 

Broad Dissatisfaction Among Both Parties with Systems of Self-Governance (Election Methods, Representation, etc.)

(Survey Questions 8-14, 16, 17, and Typology Study Question 14, 55.)  

The electoral process is flawed and either needs to be replaced or refined to better represent all constituents, not just those with the strongest voices and deepest pockets. 

Woman, age 55-64, Deschutes County, White, Democrat

“Despite the demonstrated needs of folks without stable housing, elected officials routinely ignore their needs…But anyone can plunk down six figures or more in donations to election campaigns and get all the attention they want.” 

Non-binary or gender non-conforming, age 30-44, Multnomah County, White, Republican 

“Even more so than other places I’ve lived, elections in my area feel more like popularity contests. It’s frustrating how often incompetent-but-popular people win over those with sound ideas” 

Man, age 30-44, Lane County, Preferred not to provide race/ethnicity, Non-affiliated 

“…Voters are disillusioned and have zero faith that politicians have their best interests in mind …” 

Woman, age 18-29, Clatsop County, White, Democrat 

  • Dissatisfaction is prevalent in Oregonians’ views of our electoral systems.  
    • Only one in four (25%) survey respondents think our elections result in “the candidate most qualified for the position winning”.  
    • A clear majority thinks that “Oregon’s current electoral system produces outcomes that reflect the views and beliefs of a small group of particularly political Oregonians” (58%) rather than “the views and beliefs of typical Oregonians from around the state” (42%). 

  • Survey respondents largely agreed that “once elected, an official should prioritize the interests of their district rather than their supporters” (71%) and that “all generations should be treated equally” in the allocation of public resources (66%).  

  • Similarly, in our Typology study, almost three in four (74%) of respondents agreed that “compromise is how things get done in politics even though it sometimes [means] sacrificing for the greater good,” while only one in four (26%) favored the hardline view that “compromise in politics is just selling out on what you believe.” 
  • These are centering rather than fragmenting tendencies, reaffirming a broad consensus in favor of bridging divides to better serve the common interests of all.   
    • At the same time, these traditional views do not reflect support for a “good old days” style of government. Roughly three in four survey respondents think that “future generations deserve more formal representation and more consideration by current government institutions” (73%), and that “effective governance requires continual experimentation with how best to get things done” (76%). 
  • Oregonians overall strongly favor “continual experimentation” over “adherence to tradition” as the best approach to effective governance, with Republicans being more divided. 

  • Almost three out of four respondents (72%) agreed that “voters in Oregon need to receive more reliable information about the issues and candidates on the ballot,” while 28% think voters “already have access to enough information to cast their vote.” 
  • Most Oregonians blame one or both major parties for “threatening the nation’s well-being”

  • Survey respondents do not view our political parties as agents for a more representative or effective government.  
    • Only one in three respondents is very (9%) or somewhat (25%) satisfied with the political party they are affiliated with, and a notable plurality (42%) think the Democratic and Republican parties have too much say in selecting candidates to compete in Oregon’s general elections (compared to 9% who think that the major parties have too little power and 24% who don’t know.) 
    • Even harsher views were evident in response to a question in our Typology study asking whether respondents viewed the policies of the Democratic Party or the Republican Party as “threaten[ing] the nation’s well-being.” Fewer than one in five (17%) rejected that assertion, while a plurality (33%) put both parties in the category of threatening the nation’s well-being. The remaining respondents blamed the Republican Party (31%) or the Democratic Party (19%) for these effects. 

  • These views seem to motivate a multi-partisan interest in, and receptiveness to, reforms in our systems of representative government. 

Oregonians are Mostly “Reform Curious” Rather Than “Reform Ready”

“I’m down to try something different as the current system isn’t working.” 

Woman, age 30-44, Deschutes County, Another race/ethnicity, Democrat

“There is not much point in Oregon experimenting with new voting systems when other states like Texas are reducing access to voting etc. When other states are endangering democracy, it may be safer to Oregon to stay put unchanged so that it is ready to react to undesirable outside changes.” 

Man, age 55-64, Washington County, Asian, Non-affiliated 

“I am not sure I would want multiple representatives. After reading this survey. I believe I would want to research it a little more to get better information.” 

Woman, age 65-74, Marion County, White, Democrat  

The present system allows one party to impose their particular ideology state wide. But at least it offers an opportunity for all to choose someone else with a different ideology. 

Man, age 75+, Linn County, Another race/ethnicity, Republican 

“I worked my county’s elections for over 10 years. Voters can’t keep up with the current system, please don’t muddle it more!” 

Woman, age 45-54, Multnomah County, White, Democrat  

  • When presented with a menu of reforms, respondents choose different, although similar, paths to many of the same goals. But, with several exceptions, strong majorities fail to materialize in support of a single reform. Those exceptions can be found in the strong levels of support we identified for campaign finance reform and open primaries when respondents are offered the choice of a single, clearly formulated alternative to the status quo. Otherwise, the split over different paths to reform remains a cautionary finding for advocates of change. 

  • We analyzed the range of responses, from “reform curious” to “reform ready” in each of the following issue areas: 
    • Unlimited vs. limited campaign contributions, 
    • Closed vs. open party primaries, 
    • Plurality vs. majority elections, runoffs and ranked-choice voting, and 
    • Single-member vs. multi-member districts. 
      • In response to this menu of reform options, we note that young and young-middle-aged respondents were somewhat less likely to commit to, and more likely to say they don’t know their position on, specific proposals. 

Broad Support for Campaign Finance Reform

(Typology Study Questions 23 and 37-38.) 

  • With campaign finance reform, however, there is broad interest and super-majority support for reforms to limit campaign contributions to candidates. Respondents offered many unprompted comments like the following in response to the open-ended questions in our survey. 

“…Perhaps we can eliminate campaign financing by corporations. 

Man, age 30-44, Washington County, Black/African American, Democrat 

“Our top priority is to get money out of politics. It’s the only way to make things truly fair. Currently, politicians can be bought. Which puts all the power in the hands of just the rich…” 

Woman, age 45-54, Wheeler County, White, Non-Affiliated 

Limit campaign spending so it’s affordable for all… 

Preferred not to share gender, age 55-65, Clackamas County, Preferred not to share race/ethnicity, Republican 

“There needs to be stricter laws about campaign money. The rich and corrupt currently are our only option and they do not represent us.” 

Woman, age 18-29, Clatsop County, White, Democrat 

“The other big issue is the influence of money on elections, which…requires candidates to worry more about funding for reelection versus what their constituents need.” 

Man, age 55-64, Benton County, White, Minor Party 

  • The Typology study reflects this later survey’s comments, showing 50% strong support and 75% overall support for regulating unlimited money in political campaigns. 

  • Competing initiatives headed to the November 2024 ballot in Oregon to establish campaign spending limits will benefit from this level of initial support and from a decades-long series of campaigns to bring this approach to fruition. However, if voters are offered two competing proposals on the same ballot, even super-majority support for a common goal can splinter into lesser levels of support for each proposal.  
  • For example, in our Typology study, we also asked respondents to indicate their preferred options for reforming our campaign finance system. In their responses, increased transparency topped donation limits, with support for the latter declining to 56%. (See Implications for Reforms in the Current Political Environment, below.) 

Support is Building for Open Primaries

(Split-sampled Survey Questions 18 and 19, and Typology Study Question 39.) 

…Primary elections should be OPEN TO ALL (open primaries), this would result in more centrist (more accurately reflecting the voters’ moderate views) candidates being in a general election. This would strongly decrease divisiveness. 

Man, age 55-64, Yamhill County, White, Democrat  

“I have been a registered independent voter for decades and would like to be able to vote in the primary.  The difficulty of being a Republican or Democrat is that you are only given Republican or Democratic candidates to vote for.  I would like the option of voting who I think is the best candidate no matter the political party.” 

Woman, age 65-74, Clackamas County, White, Independent Party  

I support open primaries and limits on campaign spending. 

Man, age 30-44, Umatilla County, Native American, American Indian, or Alaska Native and White, Non-affiliated  

“I think we should be able to vote across political parties in the primaries…not a ballot for Republicans, Democrats, etc. I want to be able to vote for the best candidate no matter the political party.” 

Woman, age 65-74, Washington County, White, Republican 

  • When survey respondents were asked whether the two major parties should continue with their practice of limiting participation in their primaries to their own registered voters, only 21% affirmed that practice in one split sample, while 41% preferred opening up these primaries to all voters, and 16% supported non-partisan, top-two primaries instead.  
  • In another sample that offered an additional alternative, only 17% affirmed the current party primary system, while various alternative approaches garnered support at levels of 28%, 22%, and 16%.  

  • By contrast, when given just the two options of having the major parties continue with the practice of closed primaries or requiring them to open their primaries to all voters, respondents to the Typology study coalesced in support of the latter: Support for the status quo peaked at 27%, while support for opening up the major party primaries settled at 63%. 

  • When offered multiple alternatives to the current practice of continuing with closed primaries, Oregonians were less likely to support the status quo, as the “reform curious” dynamic tended to draw more of them away from supporting the current system. But when offered the single alternative of open primaries, support for the latter retained a sizable majority. 

Split Support for Changes in Our Methods of Electing Representatives

(Survey Question 20 and Typology Study Question 40.) 

  • A majority of respondents want to change our method of electing representatives but differ on the best way to do so: 

“I think that two-party winner-take-all all elections have become a poor way to elect representation. Branding takes precedence over ideas. I would like to see candidates elected on the strength of their ideas and practical ability to get things done, requiring more of voters to know and decide among options when they vote.” 

Woman, age 65-74, Lane County, White, Democrat 

I think Oregon would do better if we had a second round of voting for the top two candidates. 

Man, age 30-44, Clackamas County, White, Republican 

We need rank choice voting. I’m a bleeding-heart liberal but I don’t want anyone as liberal as me in charge. I want moderate centrists to be the decision-makers, compromising for the good of all. Rank Choice Voting pushes candidates to the middle – it eliminates the need to pander to the fringes (on either side). 

Woman, age 65-74, Washington County, White, Democrat  

“NO WAY should Oregon allow 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice voting! Voters are confused enough, they don’t need this type of voting to add more confusion, uncertainty and cause even lower voter turnout…” 

Woman, age 55-64, Yamhill County, Hispanic or Latina, Independent Party 

“Ranked-choice voting would be an absolutely incredible advancement. Absolutely no more concerns about ‘throwing away your vote’ if your favorite candidate isn’t the one you think is the most popular.” 

Man, age 30-44, Clackamas County, White, Democrat  

“I prefer rank choice voting because it will help other parties be in debates and more recognized as individuals.” 

Man, age 18-29, Polk County, Asian and White, Democrat  

  • When asked about our current system of “first past the post” elections in our survey, in which winners can prevail with less than half of the vote, only 24% of Oregonians want to stay with this system. 35% favor shifting to ranked-choice voting and 29% prefer requiring runoffs when necessary to determine a majority winner.  

  • Our Typology study captured similar responses: 37% of respondents favored ranked-choice voting, 30% favored runoffs, and 30% wanted to stay with the current system. 

Multi-Member Districts Elicit Near Majority Support

(Survey Questions 21-23) 

A multi-member district could force more compromise, which is sorely lacking these days since the two political parties require allegiance and forbid compromise. 

Woman, age 65-74, Washington County, White, Democrat  

“It is absurd to think that we need multiple winners all of a sudden. How in the world would this make things better? It will only confuse voters about who represents them: When things go wrong, who do they hold accountable?” 

Man, age 45-54, Multnomah County, White, Democrat  

“Multiple representatives would likely do a better job of representing the area, but I’m not sure the system costs and revamping everything would be possible. Also not sure that the top two parties would allow for more diversity, or if we’d just see more candidates that are the same party-liners we have now.” 

Woman, age 55-64, Klamath County, White, Non-affiliated 

I don’t think the multi-member government idea makes any sense… 

Man, age 30-44, Clackamas County, Asian, Democrat  

  • In this section of our survey, where respondents were offered binary choices, the results show a strong interest in radical change – namely, ending the long-standing practice of having districts represented by a single elected official (single-member districts) in favor of a system in which “two or more candidates are elected for a particular region to represent different perspectives” (multi-member districts). Asked which approach they favored, a near majority of respondents (49%) chose multi-member districts over single-member districts (28%) with the remainder (22%) undecided. 

  • Asked again about the relative effectiveness of single-member and multi-member district representation in state and local government, a strong plurality (46%) of survey respondents agreed that “multiple candidates in an election that allows more than one winner, with the top two or three representing the area, would do a better job of getting things done for all voters.” A lesser 35% thought otherwise, agreeing with the claim that “a candidate who wins a single-winner election with the most votes is better able to achieve consensus on an elected body and get things done for all voters.” 
    • As would be expected from these findings, survey respondents affirmed their preference for multi-member districts and ranked-choice voting for city councils (50%), county commissions (49%), and the state legislature (47%).  The support was more “somewhat” than “strong” and about 20% were unsure.   

  • When presented with a binary choice between the status quo and a single alternative, one would expect to see a coalescence of support for reform. However, our survey and study results show that reaching majority support for many of these changes is far from certain when those who are undecided or only “somewhat” supportive of a specific proposal eventually make up their minds. One out of five respondents in our survey remained undecided on either approach.  
  • Also, observations of campaigns over the years confirm that strong and well-funded opposition efforts invariably erode support for reforms in the course of an election or a legislative session. (See Implications for Reforms in the Current Political Environment, below.) 

Portland Charter Reforms: A Bellwether or Cautionary Tale?

  • Our survey looked separately at residents of the City of Portland as a potential bellwether of Oregonians’ receptivity to election reforms, some of which we tested in this survey and were contained in the city’s Measure 26-228, which was approved by a margin of 58% to 42% in November of last year. 
    • Relevant to this survey, Measure 26-228 amended the city’s charter to create multi-member districts for the City Council and adopted two versions of ranked-choice voting for city officials. One version of ranked-choice voting will be used for single-winner elections for mayor and auditor, while another version will be used to determine winners in the city’s new multi-member districts.  

  • Portland residents, who comprised almost one in every five respondents, showed some differences from their non-Portland counterparts in their opinions of the electoral and governance changes tested in this survey. They were: 
    • Slightly more inclined to favor “continual experimentation” over “adherence to tradition” (81% vs. 75% in the rest of the state); 
    • Slightly more inclined to be satisfied with their political parties (39% vs. 32%); 
    • Less inclined to favor runoff elections (22% vs. 31%); and, 
    • More supportive of ranked-choice voting than respondents in the rest of the state (44% vs. 33%). 
      • However, Portlanders’ support for ranked-choice voting is no different than that of Democrats statewide, who support this method of voting in the same proportion (44%). 

  • Our survey findings suggest that Portlanders’ opinions about representation have not caught up with the changes they approved in the city’s charter amendment. Portland respondents were slightly less likely to favor multi-member districts (47%) than respondents in the rest of the state (50%). They were also slightly less likely to think that the election of multiple candidates from a district would do a better job of getting things done for all voters (43% vs. 46% in the rest of the state).  

  • It appears that the architects of Portland’s charter amendment did not have a head start over the rest of the state when it came to voter support for the electoral reforms they brought to the ballot. Rather, it is likely that they benefited from voters’ impatience with the city’s failures in governance and its outmoded system of government as the motivators for changing the city’s governance model.  

  • Whether voters in the rest of the state will now be inclined to follow Portland’s lead in enacting similar electoral and representational changes may depend on how Portland’s new voting system is received when rolled out for this year’s November election and how successful its multi-member governance structure proves to be in overcoming the city’s problems. 

Implications for Reforms in the Current Political Climate

  • The findings of this survey reveal a citizenry in Oregon dissatisfied with the method of electing its representatives and with the structure of its representative government. 
    • Our Typology study found similar dissatisfactions with the efficiency of government, despite strong support for the role of government in providing services, protecting the environment, and maintaining our land use system.   

  • Although many Oregonians are dissatisfied with the current system, translating that dissatisfaction into specific reforms is challenging. Survey responses show diverse preferences for understanding and choosing among competing proposals. For example, only 24% of respondents favor keeping our first-past-the-post method of electing candidates who fail to pass the 50% threshold to win elections. But a near majority of the same respondents favor the creation of multi-member districts to give voice to a greater cross-section of Oregonians – which in turn will require the election of candidates with less, often far less, than 50% of the vote. Getting to a clearer understanding of the effects of reforms can upend the survey’s first-impression findings. 
  • Still, there is an advantage for first movers and for those who build support for reforms over multiple election cycles and can show success at the local level before seeking statewide adoption.  
    • The success of the Portland Charter amendment in 2023, which contained both electoral and structural reforms in a single package, is proof of a first-mover advantage, where voters are frustrated by a failure of governance.  

  • The long-haul strategy of campaign finance reform advocates is another model that can lead to success. Initiative sponsors amended the state constitution to enable limits on contributions to candidates with the passage of Measure 107 in the 2020 election, after failing with a similar amendment in 2006. Contribution limits have since been approved by voters and successfully implemented in Portland and Multnomah County. Advocates are now advancing an initiative (IP 9) to the state ballot in November 2024 to establish campaign contribution limits for all state and local offices in Oregon. They have since been joined by labor union advocates pursuing a competing initiative on the same subject for the same ballot.  

  • Our Typology study suggests that, if a single measure qualifies for the ballot, it will start with strong support from voters across the state. But, if voters are presented with two alternatives on the same ballot, there is a chance that neither measure will secure majority support.   

  • Meanwhile, a first test of voters’ support for reforming our election methods statewide is headed to the November 2024 ballot in the form of a legislative referral (HB 2004) enacted in 2023). This measure proposes to establish ranked-choice voting for statewide and Congressional elections and to permit that method of voting to be used for the election of city, county, and school district offices. As with campaign finance reform, a statewide vote on this reform could be complicated by a competing proposal for a system of STAR voting, in which voters award preference votes among a field of candidates and let a tally of their preferences determine the winner. This proposal is currently circulating as an initiative (IP-11) for the same November 2024 ballot. If both proposals end up on the same ballot, it is possible that majority support for moving beyond our current electoral system will splinter into less-than-majority support for alternative solutions. 

  • Further, if only the legislative referral for ranked-choice voting goes forward, confusion over the voting experience in Portland could complicate perceptions of this approach for state voters. Portlanders will be confronted with two forms of ranked-choice voting in the same November 2024 election, one of which will likely entail long lists of candidates vying for three slots in each of four new districts. That experience in Portland may not help and could hurt the receptivity of voters statewide to follow Portland’s lead in enacting ranked-choice voting.  

Ranked-choice and multi-member districts seem like a good idea, but we really don’t know how that would work out, so we need to review the results after a few (3?) years and be ready to acknowledge any mistakes. 

Man, age 75+, Washington County, White, Democrat 

  • In summary, the table is being set this year for a first round of statewide votes to determine the interest of Oregonians in alternative election reforms. Whatever succeeds, as happened with Portland’s charter amendment, will gain a first-mover advantage in the effort of experimentation in government that 76% of Oregonians say they want to see. But disappointment with the Portland experience or the failure of measures on the statewide ballot will underscore other findings that emerged in our survey, namely that voters will need more information and understanding of what reforms will accomplish before providing a majority for their enactment. 

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