Only twice in the last hundred years has the Oregon legislature successfully completed redistricting without intervention by the secretary of state or the courts. For decades, the legislature failed to redistrict at all, so that the party in power could maintain its advantage, resulting in growing distortions in the ratio of voters-to-representatives from one legislative district to the next as population sizes shifted throughout the state. Oregon law requires that district lines are not to be drawn for partisan advantage, so partisan data is not analyzed publically. But in reality, legislators share this data behind closed doors, and are well aware of how various options will affect party advantage.

Even while redistricting is an inherently political process, there are proven reforms that help keep it transparent and fair. At minimum, Oregon needs to end the "wink and a nod" sharing of partisan data behind closed doors and make this information available for public scrutiny. Oregon could also codify into law best practices from previous redistricting cycles, so that these are not contingent on individual leadership from one cycle to the next. Finally, Oregon could join the most enlightened states, and shift authority for redistricting out of the hands of the legislature and into the hands of an independent commission.

Latest Status

This was no ordinary legislative session for democracy reform! Right out of the gate, Gov. Kitzhaber resigned suddenly amid charges of ethics violations. The scandal made government ethics the hot issue of the day. Stepping into the...

2015 Oregon Legislative Wrap-up
July 7, 2015

Democracy Wire

Take Action

The Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

Tell Congress to fix the court’s bad decision!

Take action.


Give Today

Join the Community

Find Common Cause Activists in your area.

Add Me to the Map