May 2004 Primary Election
City of Portland
Measure No. 26-53
BALLOT TITLE AMENDS CHARTER: CANDIDATES RECEIVING MAJORITY VOTE AT PRIMARY ARE ELECTED
QUESTION: Shall Charter provide that candidates who receive majority vote in Primary Election are elected without further vote at General Election?
SUMMARY: Presently, the Portland City Charter provides that all candidates for City office must be elected at a General Election. Therefore, even when a candidate receives a majority of votes cast at a Primary Election, that candidate appears as the sole candidate on the General Election ballot. The proposed measure will amend the Charter to provide that if a candidate receives a majority of votes cast for an office at the Primary Election, that candidate is elected to that office for the term beginning the following January. As a result, the candidate would not have to appear on the General Election ballot. If no candidate receives a majority of votes cast for the office at the Primary Election, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes shall appear on the General Election ballot.
This measure amends the Portland City Charter to simplify the process for electing City officials. Currently, the City Charter provides that a candidate who receives a majority of votes at the Primary Election must appear again on the General Election ballot as the sole candidate. This measure provides that if a candidate for an office receives a majority of votes cast at the Primary Election, he or she will be elected without having to appear again on the General Election ballot. In effect, this measure eliminates "single candidate run-offs."
This measure adopts a streamlined election process similar to that provided for in the state statutes for non-partisan elections. Other jurisdictions, including Multnomah County, have adopted and successfully applied this process. Eliminating the requirement that a sole candidate appear on the General Election ballot will reduce election administration and voters' pamphlet printing costs.
In 30 out of 40 elections for City officials since 1980, one candidate as received a majority of the votes cast at the Primary Election and appeared as the sole nominee at the General Election. No write-in candidate has ever come close to defeating a sole nominee.
This measure does not change the election process if no candidate receives a majority vote at the Primary Election. In such cases, the Charter provides that the top two candidates advance to a run-off at the General Election.
If approved, the new election process will be in effect beginning with the May 2006 Primary Election. Candidates elected at either the May Primary Election or November General Election will still take office in January the following year. Current provisions for the fillings of vacancies would continue to apply in the event a candidate elected in May fails to qualify and take the oath of office in January.
Portland City Auditor
No arguments FOR or AGAINST this measure were filed.