Although our votes are required to carry equal weight, they don't. It's time for real democracy. Join us!

Revolutionary Reform: The Oregon Way

Oregon has long led the nation in innovative reform proposals, from the initiative system itself to the Beach Bill, Bottle Bill and Vote-by-Mail, and Motor Voter just to name a few. Given the state of our national politics today, it's time for Oregon to step up again and demonstrate that a better way forward is possible.

We've crafted a simple three-phase plan to fundamentally reboot our national democratic process.

Phase 1: Start Local

We are in the process of developing charter amendments for Lane and Multnomah Counties to put the question of whether to adopt the nation's first equal vote to electors in Oregon. This will allow real voters to use SRV in a real election as soon as May of 2020. Our amendment texts are currently undergoing legal review. Once that review concludes, they will be submitted to local elections officials.

Phase 2: Democracy - an Oregon First

Oregon's Legislative Counsel has been engaged to draft a significant election reform law for consideration by the 2017 legislature and ultimately aimed at the November 2018 ballot. The broad strokes of the reform are as follows:

  • Switch the voting method from plurality to Score Runoff for all elections. This one is clear: Score Runoff Voting is a giant democracy leap beyond the Plurality Voting system we use today. And this change won't even require amending our state Constitution: Article II section 16 of the Oregon Constitution specifically allows for alternate voting methods to be implemented by statute. It reads, "Provision may be made by law for the voter’s direct or indirect expression of his first, second or additional choices among the candidates for any office." Nice!

  • Abolish the state and local Primary Election. Let's double up on voter equality. The partisan primary election is what forces candidates to run two campaigns, raise more money, and change their messages midway through as they are considered by two distinct electorates. The primary is also what gives us "safe" districts that shut out half of the electorate.

  • Restore the proper role of political parties: nomination and endoresement of candidates.

    Multiple candidates from the same party will be able to compete in open SRV general elections. As such, parties should be able to decide which candidates they wish to nominate and/or endorse on the ballot.

    Without the constriction of a state-funded primary election whose function is to eliminate candidates from general election consideration, parties will be free to innovate on their own internal process for putting forward candidates.

Phase 3: Go Big at Home - the 2020 Vision

Oregon, right now, for sure, should reform her Presidential Primary Election, and we've got a proposal we think makes sense. We call this new system the Oregon Poll.

  • Right now, only Oregonians in a major political party get a voice in the Presidential Primary, and even they are limited to expressing an opinion about only candidates in their own party. The new Oregon Poll will allow all voters to score all primary candidates regardless of the party (or not) of the voter or candidate. Parties can choose to accept the results of only their own affiliated voters, but Oregon will publish the full scoring and pairwise preference totals of all of the voters as well.

  • Right now, the Oregon primary happens so late in the season, we have a minimal impact on the outcome. When we remove the need for the state and local primary election, we can move the date of the Oregon Poll to have a more meaningful voice. Let's make that Tuesday actually Super.

  • By running the Oregon Poll on a meaningful date and using the best-in-class system that clearly shows the will of the whole electorate, Oregon will have an outsize impact not just on the outcome of the race, but on the national understanding of voting systems and equality. Mic drop.

Want to get involved? Join us to help make the Equal Vote another significant Oregon first.

What? You're not in Oregon? No fear! Oregon's a good state to prove out awesome new stuff (see above). And this stuff is worth proving out, in order that it's easier for non-trailblazers to adopt it too. Join us and we'll all get the Equal Vote to us all, ASAP!

Showing 7 reactions

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  • commented 2017-10-01 13:55:43 -0700
    How about scoring from -3 to 3 for example?
  • commented 2017-04-06 18:59:14 -0700
    Question: Suppose an alternative voting system (like SRV) does get implemented somewhere. Once people realize the election is no longer a lesser-of-two-evils vote (i.e., single Democrat vs. single Republican) and the field is much more open, a LOT of new contenders might enter the race: nonpartisan candidates, minor-party candidates, multiple candidates from each major party, and so on, none of whom need to survive a primary election to appear on the general ballot.

    Voters could be faced with a bewildering multitude of questionable choices; this won’t endear them to the new system, and might even put the new system in danger of repeal. To keep SRV elections manageable for the electorate, should election authorities raise the bar for who appears on the ballot, to filter out all but the most serious, competent, and generally viable?
  • commented 2017-02-07 16:52:50 -0800
    Hey Guys,
    Did the amendment pass in Lane County?
    I’m looking for the contact person for this site? I want to bring it to Multnomah!
  • commented 2016-12-11 17:28:17 -0800
    The system uses a 10 score range to afford voters enough resolution to differentiate candidates without too high a score penalty. There is no intention to change the number of score options based on the number of candidates in the race — if there are a ton of candidates you’d have to give some of them the same scores.
  • commented 2016-12-11 16:37:18 -0800
    What determines the number of scoring bubbles in SRV? Is it always ten (0-9) for the sake of simplicity/predictability, or can it change? Example: In a race including more than ten candidates, would the number of bubbles have to increase in order to allow voters full expression of preference?
  • commented 2016-11-21 18:09:43 -0800
    Great question Stephan! Right now we are people powered, but save up the shekels — we’ll be doing a fund raising drive shortly.
  • commented 2016-11-21 18:02:21 -0800
    All sounds good, but I’m no longer seeing a “Donate” button on the site. How can we support the cause, help fund production of edu-taining videos, etc.?

The Deep Look

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Problems and the solution

Plurality Voting = fail.

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