BEND, OR -- Oregon voters will decide in November whether future elections should be determined by ranked choice voting. Pacific University Political Analyst Dr. Jim Moore isn’t surprised by the ballot measure, "Remember, Oregon has kind of led the country in experimenting with how we vote; vote by mail and all these other kinds of things."
Dr. Moore says ranked choice voting is a popular idea, "People talking about ranked choice voting talk about, ‘aha! It’ll bring in new voices. It’ll lower partisanship. It’ll make government more responsive.’" But, he tells KBND News, many people find the system confusing, "In Oregon, I don’t think it has a good chance right now. And the reason is simple: When Oregonians get reform ideas like this, they think they’re great. And then, the opposition comes in- and the opposition may not even oppose the idea, but they’ll say, ‘this is a great idea, but this isn’t the right way to do that.’" He adds, "In Oregon, with ballot measures, the safest thing to do is vote ‘no,’ because that keeps the system that you understand, that we have now."
And, he says, the presidential race will impact every other voter decision, "A great number of Republicans are going to look at this and say, ‘would ranked choice voting be something that would help Donald Trump get elected.’ And a great number of Democrats are going to look at it and say, ‘will ranked choice voting be something that would prevent the rise of somebody like Donald Trump?’" A local Congressional race is also expected to have a big impact, "Oregon is at the center of who’s going to control the U.S. House, which is exciting. So, all you Bend voters in District 5, you’re a battleground." That seat is currently held by Republican Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer.
Ranked choice voting is one of several election reforms expected to appear on Oregon’s November ballot. Dr. Moore will talk more about those proposals with the City Club of Central Oregon on Thursday. That presentation starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. Click HERE for more information.