Happy Valley election system potentially undemocratic
I'm wondering how many Happy Valley voters noticed the radical change in the way their city councilors were elected in November 2018. You were forced to choose between one or the other candidate running for specific Happy Vally City Council position numbers, rather than the previous method of choosing two from among all the candidates. (For more information see the Clackamas Review article "2 seats in Happy Valley up for grabs Nov. 6," published on Oct. 8.)
The major downside of this system is that it opens the door for candidates to run unopposed if there are less than at least four candidates. It's also possible under this system to have a single candidate for one position number, and multiple candidates for the other position number. Examples of this that I'm familiar with are that Gresham had a candidate distribution of two, six and one, while Troutdale's distribution was one, one and three.
Compare this with Lake Oswego where voters were free to choose any combination of three candidates out of a field of eight. Another likely scenario is that if there is not an incumbent running for re-election the new candidates gravitate toward the open seat since incumbents are rarely defeated.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)