On Wednesday, March 14, the House Committee on Elections, Ethics & Rules held a hearing on HB 2761, which would allow cities and counties to use IRV for local elections. Although similar legislation has been introduced several times before, this is the first time the bill has ever received a hearing.
The hearing went well: about 8 IRV proponents testified in person, including one Corvallis City Councilor. Two other elected officials sent letters of support and another proponent testified by phone. The bill does face some opposition, mostly from the state Director of Elections, John Lindback, who is a staunch IRV opponent. Fortunately for us, Mr. Lindback misstates and misrepresents facts and is so over the top that he undermines his own credibility.
The Committee is a 7 member committee and my best guess is that we have 3 of the 4 votes needed to send this bill to the full floor of the House. We're really closeŚwe just need to pick up one more vote.
PLEASE CONTACT THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS IMMEDIATELY and express your support for HB 2761.
Call, write or email the Committee members. If you're sending an email, put HB 2761 in the subject line.
Here is a sample letter. USE YOUR OWN WORDS. Make sure to put your name on the message and list your contact information. If one of the Committee members is your representative, it is very important to mention that.
I'm writing in support of HB 2761 which would uphold the Oregon Constitution and give local communities the choice of using preference voting, or instant runoff, for local elections.
Cities and counties have the right to use an election method that is provided for in the Constitution.
Please send HB 2761 to the House with a "do pass" recommendation.
Contact information for the Committee follows:
Diane Rosenbaum, chair, D-42nd (Portland) 503.986.1442 firstname.lastname@example.org
Vicki Berger, vice-chair, R-20th (Salem) 503.986.1420 email@example.com
Peter Buckley, vice-chair, D-5th (Ashland) 503.986.1405 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sal Esquivel, R-6th (Medford) 503.986.1406 email@example.com
Dave Hunt, D-40th (Portland) 503.986.1900 firstname.lastname@example.org
Arnie Roblan, D-9th (Coos Bay) 503.986.1409 email@example.com
Kim Thatcher, R-25th (Salem) 503.986.1425 firstname.lastname@example.org
It is especially important that Representative Roblan be contacted, as he is a potential swing vote. If you know of people in Coos Bay, North Bend, Reedsport or Florence, they are Rep. Roblan's constituents and should be encouraged to contact him.
To keep on top of IRV developments, check out www.irvoregon.org.