IPO TO USE STAR VOTING FOR 2020 MAY PRIMARY ELECTION
4/7 - SALEM - More than 1 million Oregonians are eligible to vote in the Independent Party's 2020 Statewide Primary and Presidential Preference Poll. The election will take place from April 28th to May 12th and conducted using STAR Voting (equal.vote). It will be held entirely online.
"Until the Independent Party opened its process to non-affiliated voters, a third of Oregonians had no say about the primary candidates for President or for any other partisan race. Now those voters will be the first in the world to use the STAR Voting method in a binding statewide election," said Mark Frohnmayer, founder of the Equal Vote Coalition. "STAR combines best-in-class representational accuracy, voter expressiveness and transparency. We can't think of a better venue for its inaugural launch than this election."
IPO is a pioneer in the use of internet voting in the United States. It is the first political party in the country to use the internet to deliver ballots in a binding multi-jurisdiction election and the first political party in Oregon to conduct a primary election at its own expense (2010, 2011, 2012, 2014).
"Given the impact of COVID-19 on elections around the country, we believe it's important to continue pushing the envelope of what is possible with technology in elections," said IPO Secretary, Sal Peralta, who developed previous solutions used by the party. "We have states changing election days, refusing to increase provisional mailed ballots, and putting people at risk by forcing them to stand in lines in order to vote. Our primary election is a real world test of some alternatives."
The election, which will be held for statewide offices, has drawn multiple candidates in races. Notably, the Secretary of State's race features six candidates, including former Deputy Secretary of State, Rich Vial, IPO member Ken Smith and the four leading Democratic and Republican candidates.
The Independent Party's Presidential preference poll will include all major candidates and will give a preview of the relative strength of the Republican and Democratic candidates among independent voters in Oregon. Since Oregon's Presidential primary election is closed to Independent and non-affiliated voters this will be the only chance they have before November to vote for their preferred Presidential candidate.
"We know who Democratic and Republican voters will vote for in November," said Harris. "Presidential campaigns may be interested to learn who independent voters prefer"
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"We plan to announce our election results on the 12th or 13th of May, to give winners a boost in the last week of the state's primary election, which ends on May 18th," Harris said.
The Independent Party of Oregon was formed in 2007 in response to legislative changes that made it more difficult to run for public office as a non-affiliated candidate and that changed the label for candidates who file by petition from 'independent' to 'non-affiliated'.
The party is the first party in the United States to use the internet to conduct a binding multi-jurisdiction election in 2010. It conducted its own primary elections using approval voting in 2011, 2012 and 2014.
In 2016 and 2018, IPO was recognized as a major political party by virtue of hitting a total membership equal to 5% of all registered voters. As a major party, IPO participated in the statewide primary election conducted by Oregon Counties. Despite adding more than 15,000 members since 2016, the party has reverted to minor party and is again conducting its own nominations.
More than 50,000 Oregonians participated in the 2016 IPO primary election. Past elections conducted by the party have averaged around 2,500 participants.