Multnomah County Voters Approve Ranked-Choice Voting

The county Charter Review Committee presented its proposals individually rather than as a package deal.

The next vote for Multnomah County chair will look markedly different from this one.

Voters appear poised to approve a form of ranked-choice voting for future county elections, saying yes to Ballot Measure 26-232 by 66% to 33% on Tuesday evening. In the form of voting known as instant runoff, voters rank their preferences on a list and second-choice votes are tallied if one’s first choice doesn’t make the cut. That eliminates runoff elections in county races.

Instant-runoff ranked-choice voting was one of seven measures the Multnomah County Charter Review Committee presented to voters this fall. Unlike the city of Portland Charter Commission, county volunteers presented their proposals individually rather than as a package deal.

The result? Voters appear to have approved six of the seven measures.

Measures headed for victory include making county charter language gender neutral, increasing the required number of jail visits by county commissioners, establishing a county ombudsperson, and guaranteeing the county auditor’s access to public documents. Voters appear to have rejected a measure that would have extended voting rights to noncitizens living in Multnomah County, an idea that even gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek described as expensive and unworkable.

Meanwhile, Portlanders again proved their appetite for new taxes is not sated.

Two property tax measures—a $450 million bond for Portland Community College and a renewal of a five-year, $99 million levy for Metro parks and natural areas—are cruising to victory tonight in the face of staggering inflation.