Equal Vote Conference

October 4, 2014
University of Oregon
Knight Law School

Oregon is the only state in the nation considering changes to its election process this cycle. One month before Election Day, state and national luminaries converged at the University of Oregon to discuss and debate Measure 90, the Oregon Top Two, in the context of national politics, evolution in the science of voting methods and the historic role of political parties and the primary election process. We'll post A/V and presentation materials from the event in the coming weeks.

Conference Agenda

9:30 - 9:40

Welcoming Remarks - The Founding Vision

Dave Frohnmayer, Former Oregon Attorney General, UO President Emeritus, Former Dean, UO Law School

A constitutional scholar takes us back to the country's beginning to give the context for the day's deliberations.


9:40 - 9:50

Evaluation of Voting Methods – Simulation and Criteria

Clay Shentrup, Director, Center for Election Science

The study of voting methods has advanced considerably in the 200+ years since the founding of the republic. Shentrup will give a TED-style overview of the criteria and simulation methods used to evaluate the efficacy of various voting systems.


9:50 - 10:30

Debate #1 - Ranking vs. Rating, the Ultimate Throwdown

Aaron Hamlin, Executive Director, Center for Election Science
Rob Richie, Executive Director, FairVote

National champions for different alternative voting methods square off in a spirited debate about the correct way to choose a single winner from a field of competitors.


10:30 - 10:40

The Fight for Independents

Jackie Salit, President, IndependentVoting.org

Jackie will examine the shifting partisan demographics of the country and the rise of the independent voter advocacy movement.


10:40 - 11:25

P-p-p-party Every Day - The Role of Political Parties

Moderator: Joseph Lowndes, PhD, UO Associate Professor of Political Science
Barbara Dudley
, Policy Advisor, Working Families Party of Oregon
Blair Bobier, Pacific Green Party of Oregon
Dan Meek, Founder, Independent Party of Oregon
Jackie Salit, IndependentVoting.org

What is the proper role of the political party - in the election process and in the lawmaking process? How can political parties make themselves more relevant to new voters who are increasingly choosing not to affiliate?


11:25 - 11:35

Empowering the Next Generation

Tara Sulzen, Executive Director, Oregon Bus Project

Not left, not right, but forward - how can we engage the next generation in the political process?


11:35 - 1:00

Lunch Break


1:00 - 1:10

Introducing Debate #2 - Confessions of a Political Inside Outsider

Jefferson Smith, Founder, Oregon Bus Project, Former State Representative

What is the election process like for the candidate? From the perspective of political activist turned elected leader turned radio show host, Jefferson will introduce the afternoon's discussions.


1:10 - 2:10

Debate #2! Ballot Measure 90, the Oregon Top Two

Moderator: Jefferson Smith
Pro: Jim Kelly, Chief Petitioner, Ballot Measure 90
Pro: Mark Frohnmayer, Drafter, Ballot Measure 90
Con: Representative Phil Barnhart
Con: Julie Fahey, Chair, Democratic Party of Lane County

Proponents and Opponents of Ballot Measure 90 square off over whether or not Oregon should adopt its own Top Two election system.


2:10 - 2:30

Results of the California Experiment

Eric McGhee, Public Policy Institute of California

Eric has been studying the public policy implications the California Top Two and will share the results of his research.


2:30 - 2:40

Trials and Tribulations - Redress through the Courts

Chad Peace, EndPartisanship.org

Chad has been at the forefront of a national effort to challenge the closed primary system in Federal Court. He'll talk about lessons learned from the first case, recently dismissed in New Jersey, and potential next steps.


2:40 - 2:50

Engage, Educate, Empower

Kate Brown, Oregon Secretary of State

Oregon's Chief Elections Officer will showcase efforts to put the state on the forefront of technological and outreach solutions to connect new voters into the civic process.


2:50 - 3:05

Alternate Voting Methods and Campaign Finance

Rob Richie, FairVote

What impact does the voting method have on the cost to run a successful campaign? Rob will present data from cities that have adopted alternate voting methods and the impact these changes have had on campaign finance and tactics.


3:05 - 3:20

Campaign Finance Reform in Oregon

Tom Bowerman, PolicyInteractive
Kate Titus, Executive Director, Common Cause Oregon

The cost to campaign for office continues to increase in Oregon. Tom and Kate will provide information on public support for campaign finance reform and preview the 2015 legislative reform agenda.


3:20 - 3:25 Closing Remarks
October 04, 2014 at 9:30am - 3:30pm
University of Oregon Law School, Eugene, OR
Mark Frohnmayer

Will you come?