Ranked-Choice Voting: A New Era For Portland Elections

In the upcoming November 5, 2024 Election, Portlanders will witness a significant change in their voting process as they embrace ranked-choice voting to elect their mayor, auditor, and councilors. This innovative approach aims to enhance democracy by allowing voters to express their preferences more fully and ensuring that elected officials truly represent the will of the people.

On this crucial day, the mayor and auditor of the City of Portland will be elected through citywide contests utilizing single-winner ranked-choice voting. In addition, 12 council members, three representing each district, will be elected using multi-winner ranked-choice voting.

Despite these changes, the voting experience for Portlanders will remain familiar. Voters will still have the opportunity to participate in three contests: mayor, auditor, and city councilors from their respective districts. The ballot will present eligible offices alongside the candidates’ names, allowing space for write-in options.

Portland voters will have the chance to make up to six selections for each of the three contests, ranking their choices in order of preference. This ranking system empowers voters to express their nuanced preferences and ensures that elected officials have broad support from the community.

For the mayor and auditor positions, single-winner ranked-choice voting will be employed. In each round, if a candidate receives more than half of the votes, they are declared the winner. However, if no candidate achieves this threshold, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and their votes are redistributed to the next choice on those ballots. This process continues until a candidate secures a majority and is declared the winner.

In the case of electing district council members, multi-winner ranked-choice voting will be utilized. Any candidate who receives more than 25% of the votes in a round is declared a winner. If a candidate surpasses the required threshold, their surplus votes are transferred to the next choice on the ballots. If no winner is determined in a round, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and their votes are redistributed. This process repeats until three candidates have received at least 25% of the vote, and they are declared the winners.

Ranked-choice voting opens the door to a more inclusive and representative democracy. It allows voters to support their preferred candidates while providing alternatives if their first choice does not succeed. This system encourages candidates to engage with a broader range of voters and build coalitions, ultimately fostering a more cooperative and responsive political landscape.