PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ranked-choice voting could be the new norm for Oregonians, now that the Oregon House has approved a bill that would implement the voting system for statewide and federal elections starting in 2028.
On Tuesday, House Bill 2004 passed through the Oregon House with a 35-23 bipartisan vote. The measure would allow voters to rank candidates in order of preference for primary and general elections. This only applies to elections with three or more candidates.
According to the office of House Speaker Dan Rayfield, the bill would also establish an education campaign to help Oregon voters understand the ranked-choice system.
Rayfield is the chief sponsor of the bill, along with House Majority Leader Rep. Julie Fahey, Rep. Lisa Reynolds, Rep. Pam Marsh, Rep. Khanh Pham, and Sen. Janeen Sollman.
“Ranked choice voting creates a more collegial electoral environment,” Rayfield said in a statement. “It allows all voters to be engaged and excited about election outcomes and encourages good candidates running good campaigns. This is about integrity, it’s about electing people in control with the will of the voters.”
Alaska has already implemented ranked-choice voting for both federal and state elections. Additionally, cities in states including California, Minnesota and Colorado have either implemented the voting system or will adopt it in upcoming years.
On a more local level, Multnomah County voters can expect ranked-choice voting on their ballots starting in 2026. The voting system will also go into effect for Portlanders for the 2024 election.
The entire state could follow suit by 2028, if the Senate approves. Rep. Kham says the current voting system pressures people to choose an ‘electable’ candidate rather than one that aligns with their values, but a ranked-choice system could change that.
“What I appreciate about Ranked Choice Voting is that it serves as a disincentive to the kinds of mudslinging that dominate many campaigns under a first-past-the-post voting system,” House Majority Leader Julie Fahey added in a statement. “In order to be successful under RCV, a candidate must build bridges and broaden their appeal.”
HB 2004 currently awaits its first reading on the Senate floor, but the Office of the House Speaker says the measure “will only be considered if Senate Republicans show up and do their jobs after walking out to block abortion rights.”