Following the 2016 passage of Portland’s Open and Accountable Elections program, advocates organized a coalition to advance statewide democracy reforms, with a vision to be driven by organizations that serve and center communities of color. Piper Fund provided support for this project, which yielded a report entitled, “Pathways to a Racially Just Democracy.” This document highlights a number of shared policy goals, including statewide campaign public financing, voting rights, ranked choice voting, and contribution limits.
Democracy in the United States is a system of government by and for each and every one of us; it plays an essential role in advancing equity and opportunity for all of our communities. We are facing a crisis in our democracy, where a combination of voter disillusionment, unrelenting money in politics, and voting systems that structurally disadvantage underrepresented communities, threaten the future of Oregon’s New American Majority – communities of color, young people and women.
Our democracy infrastructure has a direct impact on our ability to advance progressive and inclusive solutions. Yet, the health and economic inequities we see in communities of color, now representing 23% of Oregon, are evidence that the current political system is not working for everyone. Oregon has a clear need for democracy reform.
Building on the assumption that a lack of meaningful participation, influence and representation in our democracy are a root cause of inequity, a group of community organizations came together to develop a deeper analysis and recommendations for action. By engaging partners that organize directly with the New American Majority, we sought to bridge the disconnect between democracy reform and racial justice, and propose a new framework for building a democracy reform movement in Oregon.
Download: Pathways to a Racially Just Democracy