The Pacific Green Party of Oregon welcomes the release of Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, a report which enthusiastically embraces a key electoral reform which the Green Party has supported for decades: Ranked Choice Voting.
The report was produced by the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, under the auspices of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a non-partisan research institution.
Greens are 100% in support of Ranked Choice Voting, a more democratic voting method that eliminates the spoiler effect by allowing voters to rank their choices for all the candidates competing for a seat. The method is used in countries like Australia and Ireland, for a variety of statewide and federal elections in Maine, and will be used by Benton County voters for the first time in November. Cities across the country now use it to elect representatives. It precludes the need for run-off elections, avoids the “throw away” vote, and would forever stifle the complaint that a minor party threw an election.
The Pacific Greens played a major role in getting Ranked Choice Voting approved in Benton County and plan to support a Ranked Choice Voting ballot initiative for the 2022 Oregon election.
However, given the widespread success of RCV, along with the Academy of Arts and Sciences seal of approval, Pacific Greens intend to lobby the Oregon Legislature to either pass legislation allowing RCV in all state elections, or will request that legislators refer a measure to the ballot for voters to decide. “Ranked Choice Voting gives voters more power and more choices,” said Blair Bobier, who was a Chief Petitioner for the successful Benton County ballot initiative. "Most importantly, places that use RCV, like Oakland and San Francisco, have seen their local governments become more diverse and more representative of their constituencies."
In addition to Ranked Choice Voting, the Report focuses on Campaign Finance Reform and calls for a federal constitutional amendment to address legal decisions, such as Citizens United, which have found that “money is speech.” The non-partisan Commission calls for campaign finance disclosure rules to make elections more fair and democratic.
The report features six strategies each defined by multiple tactics, for a total of 31 changes that would produce more fair and just elections, improve the quality of our political culture, and enhance the role social media could play in advancing fair elections and honest campaigns, among other improvements. The Report also calls for increasing the number of Representatives in the House, limiting Supreme Court justices to 18 year terms, and seeks to apply a Fairness Doctrine to social media. The Director of the Commission said the report is a starting point for discussion and debate.
Creating more open and fair elections has been a mainstay of the Green Party platform since the party's inception. The Pacific Green Party played a central role in Benton County's adoption of Ranked Choice Voting and will continue to advocate for this more democratic election method until it is the law of the land in Oregon.