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City Club of Portland: Rethinking How We Vote

A new report from the City Club of Portland, “New Government for Today’s Portland: Rethinking How We Vote,” says that Portland should adopt a voting method to increase the participation of all Portland residents and to level the playing field for candidates from historically disenfranchised communities. 

Download the report

Portland’s current voting system restricts equitable participation and representation: women, people of color, ethnic minorities, young people, renters, and those living outside of southwest Portland have been historically underrepresented in Portland government. 

Ranked-choice voting is an option to make elections in Portland more equitable. RCV ensures that voters have more of a say in the outcome of an election and has been shown to increase diversity of representation in places where it has been implemented. 

Portland’s city government needs significant reform to increase participation and expand representation for Portlanders who have been left out of decision-making for too long. When policy makers are not representative of their constituency, the decisions they make are at great risk of being detached from the interests and preferences of the people they are elected to serve.  

RCV allows voters to express their preferences honestly. Ballots are not “wasted” if a voter’s preferred candidate has a low chance of winning. Negative campaigning is discouraged. 

The City Club reports seek to spark debate and inspire action that would elevate the voices of all of Portland’s residents, particularly communities of color, ethnic minorities, young people, and renters, regardless of zip code, as well as those living outside of the historically well-represented southwest and inner east side.  

City Club of Portland is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic organization dedicated to community service, civic education, and leadership development, and whose mission is to inform its members and the community in public matters and to arouse in them a realization of the obligations of citizenship. 

Download the report.

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What is RCV?

Ranked Choice Voting fixes our broken election system by giving voters more power and more choices. Elections now are dominated by negative campaigning, Big Money and wealthy special interests. Too many people are shut out from participating in a government that doesn’t look like them and doesn’t represent them.

RCV is as easy as 1-2-3. Voters rank candidates in order of preference instead of voting for just one candidate.

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Why RCV?

RCV brings more voices into our elections and greater diversity to government. It increases voter participation, encourages coalition-building and rewards positive campaigning.

RCV improves our elections. Voters get to vote honestly and express their true preferences. RCV solves the "spoiler" issue and means that no vote will ever be a "wasted" vote.

Ranked Choice Voting elects candidates with the broadest possible public support.

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