GREETINGS FROM PORTLAND … WISHIN’ WE WERE HERE

From Fox and Hounds:

Dateline Portland where I’m here to observe Oregon’s Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR) process. As Joe Mathews noted in these pages a couple weeks ago after seeing this election cycle’s first review in Salem, the CIR offers an intriguing glimpse of what it’s like to hit an ostensibly democratic practice (the ballot initiative) with more democracy.

Again, the CIR involves gathering a group of 24 randomly selected voters who form a “citizens’ jury”, which over the space of several days, reviews the pro/con arguments on a particular November ballot initiative. Towards the end of their group deliberation, the jury votes on the actual initiative then composes “Citizens’ Statements” for both the majority and minority camps along with the “Key Findings” from the discussions with experts that they felt were most important for voters to keep in mind.  Participants are paid a stipend of $750.00 each along with room/board and travel expenses.

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