Due to a low response rate, Healthy Democracy and the City of Milwaukie have postponed the forthcoming Milwaukie Citizens Jury on Council Compensation – Oregon’s first-ever local government Citizens Jury. In the past few weeks, we did not receive a sufficient number of responses to form a citizen panel reflective of the general public. The City and Healthy Democracy are committed to a citizen panel that is a true microcosm of the city it will serve, so we must postpone the Citizens Jury from its original August dates until a later date — likely in October, November, or December.
As noted in our earlier release, Citizens Juries are based on randomly selected panels of everyday people and are reflective of the general public on a number of factors – age, gender, race/ethnicity, political party, and so on. While we have conducted other forms of Citizens Juries for over a decade without issue, we made several changes to our format for this unique pilot project, including scheduling the CJ over two summer weekends, rather than several straight days, and addressing invitation letters to “Current Milwaukie Resident,” rather than to a particular name.
Our deliberative events do commonly occur in August, but generally over a single Thursday–Sunday period, rather than over two weekends. And while we typically send mail to individuals randomly selected from the voter rolls, generic addressees were necessary in this case to reach a more complete sample of Milwaukie residents, including individuals aged 16-17 and those not registered to vote.
These, among other factors, may have resulted in our lowest-ever response rate of just 1.4%. More important than the rate itself, however, is the fact that the sample of respondents was insufficient to select a demographically reflective panel. Two factors in particular – age and educational attainment – would not have matched the attributes of the overall population. This match is among our core values, and we must postpone until we can select a properly reflective panel.
We will announce new dates for the Citizens Jury in the next week and a half, and we will be conducting further outreach efforts leading up to a new selection event, likely in September. All who previously replied will remain in the pool of possible participants, and we have begun to contact those respondents individually. A warm thank you to all who have replied so far.
If you live in the City of Milwaukie and received an invitation letter and postcard, feel free to still reply by mail or online at the link provided. Registration remains open, and you will be entered into our selection pool for the rescheduled Citizens Jury this fall.
For more information, please contact us at email@example.com or (503) 841-6865.