Ashland, Oregon Press Release

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

IRV-Ashland News Release

Contact: Pam Vavra
pam@nv.net (541) 488-0434

INSTANT RUNOFF VOTING (IRV) SUPPORTED BY FIVE OUT OF SIX ASHLAND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS

Ashland, OR – July 20, 2005.  Ashland City Council today heard requests from citizens to place on the November, 2005 ballot, a proposed charter amendment requiring a majority vote for city elected positions with instant runoff voting.  Five councilors voiced support for IRV, the sixth saying he was undecided.  Only one councilor said he would vote to place it on the ballot, however, the others citing lack of established criteria and a desire to consider IRV alongside a broader set of charter changes as reasons for declining to take action on the request, today.

Happy to hear the near-unanimous council support for IRV, proponents will embark on a petition drive, beginning Friday at the Food Co-Op.  They must gather 1585 signatures by August 2 in order to qualify the measure for the November ballot.

Proponents of IRV for Ashland include former 3-term Mayor, Cathy Shaw, State Representative, Peter Buckley, and popular radio talk show host, Jeff Golden.  The Ashland Charter Review Committee received more requests to include IRV in the charter than comments on all other issues, combined; and, in the past week, the City Council received as many email requests to place IRV on the ballot as they did to support Police Chief Mike Bianca.

IRV permits voters to rank order their candidate choices.  If no candidate wins a majority of votes, the lowest vote getter is eliminated, and the second choice of those who voted for him or her receives their vote in a runoff.  IRV purports to solve problems of wasted votes and spoiler candidates.

IRV voter education seminars are held weekly at the Ashland Public Library on Mondays, 6-8 PM, at which information on campaign finance reform measures is also available.  For more information, contact Pam Vavra, IRV-Ashland, 488-0434, pam@nv.net