The City of Portland Transition team and the City Elections office is focused on developing a robust non-partisan, multilingual and accessible voter education campaign on City’s new election methods and form of government. The voter education campaign aims to eliminate barriers to civic education by promoting inclusivity and ensuring that every voter, regardless of background or circumstance, has access to the information and resources needed to exercise their right to vote.
The need for the voter education campaign stems from the decision of Portland voters to pass ballot measure 26-228 to amend the City of Portland’s charter in November 2022. The voter-approved amendments to the City’s charter included three interconnected changes:
Allow voters to rank candidates in order of preference, using ranked-choice voting;
Create four new geographic districts with three members elected to represent each district, expanding city council to a total of 12 members; and
Establish a mayor-council government structure in which the city council would set policy, a mayor would carry out laws and supervise a professional city manager that manages city services.
The approach and the players
To meet the City’s vision for voter education, the project team has developed a three-pronged approach to voter education.
Utilize existing channels— The City will coordinate a broad public education campaign with our partners and use existing communication and outreach systems established.
Candidate education— Candidates running for office are deeply engaged and in communications with voters more than anyone else. Educating candidates and providing them with the right tools is one of the most effective ways to reach voters.
Partnership focused on hard-to-reach voters— Through a competitive request-for-proposals process, a voter education contract was awarded to Portland’s United Way of the Columbia-Willamette for a collaborative project with Hearts & Minds Communications, Portland United for Change, and Democracy Rising, a national expert in ranked-choice voting. The project will focus on direct voter education, outreach, and a multilingual media plan. The group will grant a portion of the budgeted funds to a coalition of organizations who will engage directly with voters.
City staff presented the three-pronged voter education approach to the Government Transition Advisory Committee on October 3. Watch the October 3 meeting. City staff will be working with the Government Transition Advisory Voter Education Subcommittee to co-develop voter education strategies.
Please contact the Transition team with questions about voter education efforts by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 3-1-1, the City of Portland's information line.