A Chance to Support IRV
As you may know, the bill to allow cities and counties in Oregon to use Instant Runoff Voting, or preference voting, has been assigned to the House Elections and Rules Committee. Following the "talking points" is contact information for committee members. It's critical that we contact ALL the committee members as soon as possible to request a hearing for HB 2638.
Message from Blair Bobier of FairVoteOregon (via FairVoteOR@yahoogroups.com) --
"Democracy is About Choices -- Support HB 2638"
HB 2638 gives cities and counties in Oregon a choice: whether or not to use Instant Runoff Voting for their local elections. Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) is a better way to vote. Also known as preference voting or ranked choice voting, IRV ensures that the winner of an election is supported by the majority of voters. Under current Oregon law, a candidate can win an election without the support of a majority of voters. With IRV, candidates would no longer be able to win with less than a majority vote. IRV protects the interests of the majority of Oregonians. HB 2638 gives cities and counties more choices for how to run their elections. HB 2638 gives voters more choices, too.
Other benefits of IRV:
* IRV encourages positive, issue-oriented campaigning
* IRV eliminates the "spoiler" dynamic in elections
* IRV gives voters more meaningful choices
* IRV means that no one who votes for a third party will cast a "wasted vote"
Questions and Answers about using IRV in Oregon
Would HB 2638 require the use of IRV in Oregon?
No. HB 2638 would simply allow cities and counties to use IRV. This bill doesn't require anything; it is known as enabling legislation. Separate legislation would be required to implement IRV. Having this legislation on the books simply gives cities and counties the option to use IRV.
What would the cost be?
There would be no cost. This bill would simply allow the use of IRV.
Is IRV constitutional?
Yes. In fact, Oregon is the only state which has a preference voting provision in its Constitution (Article II, Section 16).
Is IRV used anywhere?
Yes, in lots of places: San Francisco uses IRV and Cambridge, Massachusetts uses a variation of it. IRV is used to elect the Mayor of London, Ireland's president and many officeholders in Australia. IRV is used by the Utah Republican party and by the American Political Science Association. The Eugene Charter Review Committee recommended IRV for city elections in 2001.
How does IRV work?
Instead of just voting for one candidate, voters rank candidates in order of preference: 1, 2, 3 and so on. It takes a majority to win. If anyone receives a majority of first choice votes, that candidate is elected. If not, the last place candidate is defeated, just as in a runoff election, and all ballots are counted again, taking into consideration the second choice votes on the ballots for the defeated candidate. The process of eliminating the last place candidate and recounting the ballots continues until one candidate receives a majority of the vote. With modern voting equipment, all of the counting and recounting takes place quickly and automatically.
How can I help support HB 2638?
Write and call the committe members below and request a hearing for HB 2638. You can also write and call your own state representative and senator and ask them to co-sponsor and support HB 2638. You can reach them by calling the Oregon Capitol, toll-free at 800-332-2313. If you belong to an organization, have your group endorse this bill. Write letters to the editor supporting HB 2638 and election reform; use this fact sheet for "talking points" but write the letter in your own words.
Where can I learn more about IRV?
Fair Vote: The Center for Voting & Democracy is the nation's leading voting rights organization focusing on more fair and democratic election methods. Their website, www.fairvote.org, is the best place to learn more about IRV and to find other resources, such as books and articles, about different election methods.
Oregon House Elections and Rules Committee Members
Representative Derrick Kitts, Chair
Party: R District: 30
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1430
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE., H-292, Salem, OR, 97301
Representative Kim Thatcher, Vice Chair
Party: R District: 25
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1425
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-490, Salem,, OR, 97301
Representative Billy Dalto
Party: R District: 21
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1421
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE., H-291, Salem, OR, 97301
Representative Debi Farr
Party: R District: 14
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1414
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, H-278, Salem,, OR, 97301
Representative Paul Holvey, Vice Chair
Party: D District: 8
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1408
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE H-475, Salem, OR, 97301
Representative Mitch Greenlick
Party: D District: 33
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1433
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE., H-493, Salem, OR, 97301
Representative Steve March
Party: D District: 46
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1446
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE., H-385, Salem, OR, 97301
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