Citizens’ Initiative Review Makes History!
Another November has come and gone, but for Healthy Democracy Oregon, this year was very special. For the first time, high-quality citizen deliberation was directly connected to an election. Through the Citizens' Initiative Reviews, voters were empowered to participate in politics in a way they had never before experienced. In the words of one CIR panelist, "This is the first election I've actually been excited about in a long time." Preliminary findings from an independent evaluation show Oregon found the reviews empowering too. The CIRs provided a new public service to the state.
The CIR was a great success! An independent team of academic researchers from the University of Washington is finishing a rigorous evaluation of the Reviews, funded by a $218,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Early results from the evaluation are very positive, showing that voters used the citizen statements, and that they found them to be informative and helpful when casting their votes. In the coming weeks, the research team will complete the study, and the results will be available for the public to see.
On November 19, HDO co-directors Tyrone Reitman and Elliot Shuford presented these preliminary findings to the Eugene City Club. The presentation was well received, generating great questions and positive responses. It was later aired on KLCC public radio, which serves more than 88,000 listeners each week. You can listen to the broadcast through the KLCC website.
We had great success this year, but our work has just begun. Once the evaluation is complete, Healthy Democracy Oregon plans to continue working with the legislature to ensure the Citizens' Initiative Review continues. Supporters can volunteer or donate to help sustain the momentum. Every contribution helps us continue our work restoring democracy and is greatly appreciated. Together we can really improve our democracy in Oregon. Thank you again for your continued support!