Thursday, February 2, 2023

Play

Palestinian advocates praise a new fact sheet on discrimination, Pennsylvania considers extending deadlines for abuse claims, and North Dakota's corporate farming debate affects landowners and tribes.

Play

Vice President Kamala Harris urges Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the House begins the process to impeach the Homeland Security Secretary, and the Federal Reserve nudges interest rates up.

Play

Is bird flu, inflation or price gouging to blame for astronomical egg prices? Pregnancy can be life-changing or life-ending depending on where you live, and nine tribal schools are transforming their outdoor spaces into community gathering areas.

Democracy Gets Voter-Approved Overhaul in OR

Play

Monday, December 5, 2022   

Reforms to elections and democracy are coming to Oregon in a big way in the wake of November's election.

Portland voters have approved a major overhaul of the city government, and in the larger Multnomah County, the electorate approved of ranked choice voting for countywide offices.

Jay Lee, democracy researcher with the Northwest-based organization Sightline Institute, said this is an improvement.

Under the old system, if a candidate gets more than 50% of the vote in the primary - which usually has lower turnout than the general election - they automatically win. He said ranked voting also will help prevent strategic voting.

"Where you say, 'Oh, well I really like this candidate but they're never going to win and so I need to vote for what I think might be a more popular candidate to stop a candidate who I don't like from winning,'" said Lee. "The opportunity to do that is really mitigated in a substantial way by ranked choice voting."

Multnomah is the second county in Oregon to implement a ranked choice voting system. Benton County adopted it in 2016.

In Portland, the city council has been reorganized so that the city is split into four districts with three councilors from each district. Councilors will be chosen through a ranked choice voting system.

And Lee said under the current setup of the city council, each member is responsible for their own bureaus - such as housing or transportation - which led to siloing and has been a challenge to collaboration across bureaus.

"Now, all of city council is going to be managing all of the departments together with the help of the city manager," said Lee, "to help make sure everything keeps running and the trash gets picked up and the water keeps getting piped."

Lee said it's exciting that Portland and Multnomah County are experimenting with how to make democracy run better, noting that systems like ranked choice voting have been used in countries around the world.

"This system of local jurisdictions and state jurisdictions trying old election systems that maybe have not picked up steam in the United States is really going to be a trend in the coming years," said Lee. "I think we're going to see a lot more of this over the next decade or two."



Disclosure: Sightline Institute contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Environment, Housing/Homelessness, Urban Planning/Transportation. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Protestors at the University of California-Berkeley demonstrate in support of student groups that passed a bylaw pledging not to invite pro-Zionist speakers. (Palestine Legal)

Social Issues

Groups fighting for Palestinian rights are praising a new fact sheet on religious discrimination from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for …


Social Issues

Lawmakers and immigrants-rights activists in the Commonwealth are hoping to pass the Language Access and Inclusion Act, which would dramatically …

Environment

New U.S. Department of Agriculture rules will target fraud and increase oversight of the $64 billion-a-year organic food industry. In Iowa, the …


While mortality rates for pregnant women have decreased globally, they continue to rise in the United States, with Black women three times more likely to die during pregnancy than white women. (Inez/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

By Jennifer Weiss-Wolf for Ms. Magazine.Broadcast version by Eric Galatas for Colorado News Connection reporting for the Ms. Magazine-Public News …

Health and Wellness

With Black History Month underway, Wisconsin researchers and support groups are highlighting the disparities in cases of Alzheimer's disease…

Environment

Oregon is pursuing an aggressive climate plan to switch to renewable energy sources, but it faces one often overlooked issue: enough high-voltage …

Social Issues

A measure in the Washington State Legislature would provide free school meals to K-12 students, but nutrition service workers are worried they are …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021