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Originally published as " Opinion: Elections Where Both Candidates and Voters Win," The Oregonian, May 25, 2022.
While many Oregonians are understandably focused on the ballot counting disaster in Clackamas County, last week’s primary results revealed a significant problem with Oregon’s elections that netted little attention: more people voted for losing candidates than for winners.
How can a candidate win with only 20-some percent of the vote? It’s because Oregon, which prides itself on being in the vanguard of electoral innovations, uses an antiquated winner-take-all voting system. This works fine when only two people run for office, but races with multiple candidates split the vote so many ways that most people vote for losing candidates.