The Portland City Council voted yesterday to pass Open & Accountable Elections! If you’ve been following this closely, you know what a profoundly important victory this is.
Open & Accountable Elections will open up Portland city elections for broader and more accountable representation in city government. The program empowers candidates to run for office without taking big campaign contributions, instead fueling their campaigns with small-dollar contributions from local city residents, matched 6-to-1 with designated public funds. In a city where only 7 women, 2 people of color, and 2 people from the outer east side have ever been elected to city office, and at a time when big special interest money is strangling our democracy – this is groundbreaking reform!
Open & Accountable Elections is modeled after similar programs that have already proven effective in a number of other communities across the country. The model has shown to incentivize candidates to reach out more broadly to their constituents instead of focusing on the wealthiest interests. It also enables a wider pool of talented people to run viable campaigns – people who are supported by and accountable to their communities, but not necessarily connected to a political donor class.
The League of Women Voters of Portland has helped lead the way to pass this important reform, working with a local coalition of over 30 organizations. Organizations supporting this reform include:
Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Association of Retired People, Oregon, Bernie PDX, CAUSA Oregon, Coalition of Communities of Color, Color PAC, Common Cause, Communications Workers of America, Local 7901, Democracy Spring Oregon, Every Voice, Latino Network, Main Street Alliance of Oregon, NAACP Portland Branch 1120, Move to Amend PDX, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, Oregon Walks, Oregon Working Families Party, PDX Forward, Rose Community Development, Represent Portland, SEIU Oregon State Council, The Bus Project, The Urban League of Portland, Unite Oregon, UFCW, Local 555, Western States Center, 350PDX, 1000 Friends of Oregon
This is a proud moment for Portland, taking the lead to make our democracy and our politics more representative and accountable. Let’s prepare ourselves to defend this reform if necessary, and to use it to elect community supported candidates who opt out of the big money system.