Ranked Choice Voting in

Portland's 2024 City Elections

and a statewide referendum on Oregon's 2024 Ballot

Here's a short FAQ that clears up confusions about ranked choice voting in Oregon.


What's happening in the 2024 Oregon election?

If you live in Portland, you will be using ranked choice voting to elect the Portland City Council and Portland Mayor.  The answer to the next question explains more.

In addition, all Oregon voters will vote on whether to adopt ranked choice voting in some key statewide elections, including Oregon governor and Oregon's members of Congress.  The answer to a later question explains more about this well-designed referendum.

If you live in Eugene, you might see a ballot initiative about adopting “star” voting for local Eugene elections.  The answer to yet another question explains more.



What should I know about marking a ranked choice ballot in Portland's 2024 elections for mayor and city council?

The only complication is that you must not rank two or more candidates at the same “choice” level.  This limit of only one mark in each “choice” column will disappear in the future when better election software becomes available.

Otherwise, you simply mark the candidate you like most (or dislike least) as your first choice, you mark your second-most-liked candidate as your second choice, and so on up to your sixth choice.

The candidates you dislike the most should not be marked at all.  (In future elections when better election software is used, you will be able to rank your most-disliked candidate below all the other candidates.)

For more details about Portland's new voting system, this webpage explains Portland's new method of electing Portland's city mayor and city council.



What should I know about the statewide referendum on the 2024 Oregon ballot that adopts ranked choice voting?

You should vote “yes” in support of this well-designed reform that adopts ranked choice voting for key Oregon elections!

Specifically it adopts ranked choice voting for electing Oregon's governor, Oregon's members of Congress, and a few other Oregon statewide offices.  Wisely it does not change any city elections, and it does not change elections for state legislators.

The current wording allows for the fact that, in the future, better election software will become available to correctly count two or more candidates at the same “choice” level.

Also the wording is flexible enough to later add two sentences that will eliminate “pairwise losing candidates” when they occur.  In the top-three round of counting, the pairwise losing candidate is the candidate who would lose both one-on-one competitions against the other two candidates.  This refinement would have yielded the correct result in the two elections — out of about 400 — when the top-three candidate with the fewest transferred votes was not the least popular candidate among the top three candidates.



How will ranked choice voting change election results?

It will yield dramatically better results!

Specifically, when ranked choice ballots are used in a general election, the candidate who is actually most popular will win, even when there are two Republican candidates and two Democratic candidates.

Money can be used to control who gets the most votes in a primary election.  But when that unfairness occurs, the candidate who gets the second-largest number of votes in the primary is likely to be the candidate who is most popular among most of that party's voters.  That second candidate also deserves to reach the general election, especially if the candidate with the most votes failed to get half the votes.

Here's a list of some recent U.S. presidential elections that would have elected a different winner if a second Republican candidate and a second Democratic candidate had reached the general election, and if ranked choice ballots had been used in enough states.  These different results assume that a well-designed interstate compact had been adopted (by those states) to correctly handle the complication of electoral votes.  (The U.S. Constitution does not need to be amended.)

Within Oregon, similar better results will happen when ranked choice voting is used to elect Oregon state legislators.  Then, Oregon's economic prosperity will increase dramatically!



I live in Eugene where some people are promoting something called “star” voting as being better than ranked choice voting.  If their ballot initiative also appears on my Eugene ballot, how should I vote?

First, you should vote “yes” to support the statewide adoption of ranked choice voting for key elections.  This change includes electing Oregon's members of Congress and Oregon's governor, which the Eugene-specific ballot measure does not do.

The two ballot measures do not conflict with each other.  That's because the statewide referendum allows Oregon cities to choose for themselves which voting method to use in local elections.

Although star ballots are better than what we use now, there is no need to switch to a completely different kind of ballot just to overcome the two valid criticisms of currently available election software that counts ranked choice ballots.

So if you think it's worthwhile to spend lots of money adopting a different kind of ballot that will be abandoned after a few election cycles (when better ranked-choice-voting election software becomes available) then you might also want to vote in favor of adopting star ballots for local Eugene elections.



Where can I get unbiased information about vote-counting details?

This (PDF) document from the League of Women Voters of Oregon contains a summary comparison table on page 18 that compares ranked choice voting, ranked choice voting with the two refinements explained in this FAQ, and star voting.  As indicated in the comparison table, star voting does not always elect the candidate who is supported by a majority of voters.



Are there any valid reasons to oppose using ranked choice ballots?

Nope!  The people who criticize the changes aren't fully understanding the changes, or else they own a business and give lots of money in campaign contributions and fear losing their money-based influence.

The adopted reforms will give us, as Oregonians, the opportunity to dramatically increase economic prosperity for Oregon!  That increased prosperity for both employers and employees will help solve lots of problems that we now face.


Let's make Oregon a bigger success!


Thank you for helping to make votes count more than money in Oregon elections!