Update: Portland Clean Elections

Wednesday, October 11, 2023
Anna Kellar

What is the Portland Clean Elections system? And how do I know which candidates are participating?

Portland Clean Elections is a new, voluntary campaign funding system for candidates for local office. People running for public office in Portland now have the option to have their campaign financed by money from the city, as opposed to relying on private donations or using their own money.

This program will give the voters of Portland more opportunities to vote for candidates who aren’t influenced by big donors. It also gives you another way to evaluate candidates to decide if you want to give them your vote! How did they choose to fund their campaign? How much financial transparency did they give the public?

Portland clean elections candidate have raised far more cash than traditional campaigns

Who's running as a Clean Elections candidate?
You can check the Portland city website to see which candidates have taken out Clean Elections papers. You can also check the candidates’ websites and social media. Feel free to ask them how they are funding their campaigns!

How was the system created?
From the beginning, this process has been the result of popular demand and has been guided from start to finish by the people of Portland.

In 2020, local voters approved the creation of a Charter Commission to open up a review of the city’s charter. The commission – made up of three members selected by the city and nine chosen by voters – proposed eight changes to the city charter, one of which was to create a Clean Elections program for the city. All the proposed changes appeared on the ballot in the 2022 election, and Portland voters approved the Clean Elections ballot question by a 30% margin.

Now mandated by the charter to implement the program, the city of Portland worked with policy experts and members of the public to design a strong and effective Clean Elections system. The final program ordinance was passed by the city council on May 1, 2023, and the Clean Elections program is now in effect for all local elections.

Check out the full timeline here