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Ranked-Choice Voting
All in one election and very confusing to the electors

Senators Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), Jeff Golden (D-Ashland), and Representative Dan Rayfield (D-Corvallis) want to revamp our election system with a ranked-choice method of election. SB 791 describes the ranked-choice voting as counting first and multiple choices for federal and state elections, and non-home charter counties effective January 1, 2023.

“Ranked-choice voting” is a complicated method of casting and tabulating votes in which a ballot provides the elector the option to rank the candidates in order of choice. In summary, this method gives a voter first and second choice so if the first choice is eliminated by receiving the fewest votes, the voters second choice becomes their vote. Consequently, it gives that voter two votes or an additional chance to change the initial outcome. In contrast, the person voting for the top candidate cannot double their vote to solidify their preferred candidate. As each round of elimination is completed, fewer and fewer voters will be counted in the final tally as all their choices get eliminated. Oregon Constitution, Article II, Section 1. Elections free. “All elections shall be free and equal.” How “equal” is it to eliminate voters?

Janice Dysinger with Oregonians for Fair Elections, says: “Rank Choice voting makes it very difficult to see the winner by simply tallying the votes. Instead, every vote has an alternate vote depending on the overall tally. It requires some gymnastics inside the tabulator. In fact, a special tabulator software is required. In the past you would have had one set of winners followed by a runoff election if there was a two-part election. This tries to do it all in one election and is very confusing to the electors. It will disrupt confidence in the election process.”

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

A D V E R T I S E M E N T

Senator Jeff Golden (D-Ashland) introduced SB 343, a county version of ranked-choice voting, which only applies to county elections. Some jurisdictions have adopted ranked-choice voting but none have implemented the process. The bill also provides for funding for the Secretary of State to provide compatible computers, voting machines and vote tally systems, which SB 791 does not.

It would change campaigning. You have candidates who are competing not just for a first-place position, but also working to be somebody's second- or third-choice candidate. One election may save election costs, but the system is more vulnerable to fraud and errors in each round of recount. Election reform starts with integrity in our election system.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-03-11 09:11:15Last Update: 2021-03-11 09:32:16



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