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Oregon, We Need To Talk About Our Elections

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Contact: Caroline Phillips, caroline@oregonrcv.org, 425-563-8384

Oregon’s antiquated election method creates expensive and negative campaigns, frustrates voters, and increases polarization. Ranked choice voting is a better alternative for voters and candidates alike.

[PORTLAND, ORE.] — Oregon’s 2022 elections proved yet again that our antiquated electoral method doesn’t work. With increasingly expensive and negative campaigns, and frustrated voters who have no way to fully express their values on their ballots, Oregon’s elections are in need of a fix. Ranked choice voting, which the Legislature will consider adopting for statewide elections during its 2023 Regular Session, is a simple and more democratic way to vote.

Oregon’s 2022 election has been the most expensive and one of the most negative to date. In races with three or more candidates, like the gubernatorial race, voters are urged to vote strategically and to not “waste” their vote. No matter who ends up winning, it’s clear that Oregon elections are not serving voters.

“Ranked choice voting can help transform Oregon’s elections. Ranked choice voting gives voters meaningful choices and more power to vote their values without fear of splitting the vote. This election we all heard a lot of warnings about vote-splitting and ‘spoiler’ candidates. With ranked choice voting, those won’t be issues,” said Blair Bobier, an attorney, elections expert, and president of Oregon Ranked Choice Voting Advocates.

With ranked choice voting, voters rank candidates in their order of preference: 1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice, and so on. It gives voters more power and choice by allowing them to rank candidates they like most without worrying about accidentally supporting the candidate they like least. Similarly, ranked choice voting reduces incentives for candidates to attack their opponents and instead focus on issue-oriented platforms to garner second or third choice votes. This means less expensive and more civil campaigns that emphasize broad voter support.

Oregon voters are eager to improve our elections and are already turning to ranked choice voting as a solution. Both Portland and Multnomah County voters passed ranked choice voting for local elections and ranked choice voting has already been adopted by both Benton County and the City of Corvallis. Oregonians are not alone in embracing ranked choice voting: Alaska and Maine both adopted ranked choice voting statewide and dozens of jurisdictions across the United States have adopted it in recent years.

“Oregon has been recognized as a leader in enacting landmark election policies. We were the first state to adopt vote-by-mail and automatic voter registration. Our next step forward is ranked choice voting,” said Bobier.

Posted on November 9, 2022.

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