Inherent in our democracy is the idea that we all have an equal voice, and in our elections process we use that equal voice to select those who legislate on our behalf.
But in reality our voices are not equal: in Oregon, a stunning 47% of registered voters have no meaningful voice on who represents them in Salem, and our election system's divided nature creates polarized, gridlocked lawmaking bodies that struggle to govern.
There's a better way to run elections that will give every voter an equal voice and will end legislative gridlock. We call it the Unified Primary. Here's how it works:
In the Unified Primary Election, every voter gets a unified primary election ballot that shows every candidate, regardless of party. Every voter participates, and every candidate campaigns to all the voters. For each candidate, you can either vote support or leave it blank, meaning you can support all the candidates you like. The two candidates supported by the most voters, regardless of party, move on to the General Election, where we can all choose between them.
In today's primary election, only voters and candidates in one of the two major parties can participate, silencing 30% of the electorate and all other candidates. Because the majority of Oregon’s legislative districts provide a single party with a dominant registration advantage, elections in those districts are effectively decided in the primary, exclusively by members of that party, and in most cases shut out an actual majority of voters. As a result, well-funded and well-organized special interests can use primary challenges to force extreme agendas.
In the Unified Primary, every voter has an equal say on each candidate without regard to the number of candidates in the race nor the number who share similar viewpoints. The Unified Primary always lets you vote for your actual favorite candidate, instead of strategically compelling you to only vote against the one you like the least.
In today's primary and general elections, voters may show support for only one candidate. When there are more than two candidates in the race, this vote-for-one system is mathematically unfair, because similar candidates will split votes. We call this the "spoiler effect." As a result, voters are strategically compelled to vote only for perceived "frontrunners," instead of longer shot candidates they may actually prefer. In combination with the partisan primary, vote-for-one inevitably results in two dominant parties and limits meaningful debate and meaningful choice.
It's time for a real Democracy. In the Unified Primary:
Every voter has more choice and an equal voice on each candidate.
Candidates campaign to all voters without having to pass through a partisan filter first.
Voters aren't penalized for honestly voting for who they think is the best candidate, so independent candidates will get a fair shot.
Special interests can't game the system via partisan primary challenges.
No vote-splitting, no wasted votes and no spoilers!
It is the best-in-class voting system that keeps our current simple two stage voting process. Instantly familiar, much more democratic.
We need your help!
It's time we give democracy a try.
Want to learn more?
- Check out the Frequently Asked Questions page to see if some of your questions have been answered.
- You can read the text of the several versions of the initiative petition: version 1, version 2, version 3.
- Read the story so far to learn the history of this initiative and track our path to the ballot.
- Read what supporters and opponents have said about the initiative and our responses.
- Check out a more detailed comparison of this reform effort versus other proposed election systems.