The following post by NCDD members Tyrone Reitman and Elliot Shuford of Healthy Democracy Oregon is part of an ongoing effort to highlight the extraordinary people and groups involved in the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). We encourage you to add a comment here today (or anywhere else you see a post about this). Tyrone and Elliot will be watching NCDD’s blog, listserv, facebook and other social media, and will respond to any questions or comments you have.
Hi, NCDD Community – Tyrone Reitman and Elliot Shuford of Healthy Democracy Oregon here. We’re just winding down a major phase of our project, the Citizens’ Initiative Review, and we wanted to share some of what we’re doing and learning with the NCDD community.
We’re pioneering an historic first for deliberative democracy in the U.S. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time a model of deliberative democracy relying upon random sampling has ever been legislatively empowered and directly tied to an election in this way in the United States.
All day today (Wednesday, August 18th) we’ll be watching NCDD’s social media (blog, listserv, facebook group, linkedin group and twitter feed) so we can answer any questions you have about what we’ve been up to — and so we can learn about what you’re doing.
First, a little background:
We (Tyrone Reitman and Elliot Shuford) formed Healthy Democracy Oregon in early 2007. We were colleagues from the University of Oregon’s Public Policy Master’s Program. While in graduate school in 2003, we studied methods of citizen deliberation and democratic reform policies. A few short years later we began discussing with Ned Crosby and Pat Benn of the Jefferson Center a new proposal for using the Citizen Jury method of public deliberation to evaluate ballot measures (or propositions) as a way to provide voters with clear, useful, and trustworthy information at election time.
In 2007 and 2008 we met with legislators, refined our legislative proposal, and ran a full scale test of the Citizens’ Initiative Review process. In 2009, we successfully lobbied the Oregon Legislature to officially use the Citizens’ Initiative Review process during the 2010 general election. From August 9th – 20th, Healthy Democracy Oregon is conducting two Citizens’ Initiative Reviews; the results of which will be published and distributed to every voting household in Oregon as a prominent new part of the official statewide Voters’ Pamphlet published by the Secretary of State. Following this pilot project, a research team led by John Gastil, and funded by a $218K grant from the National Science Foundation will determine the impact of the Citizens’ Initiative Review on the election.
Now, to the Citizens’ Initiative Review:
The CIR is an adaptation of the well established Citizens Jury process to evaluate ballot measures (or propositions). Over five days, 24 randomly selected and demographically balanced voters hear from advocates and experts, deliberate, and provide an evaluation to be sent to every voter. You can learn more about the CIR and Healthy Democracy Oregon here on our website.
The first Citizens’ Initiative Review, conducted last week, was a big success. It was a review of a measure requiring mandatory minimum sentences for certain sex crimes and repeat drunk drivers. You can read about it in Oregon’s three largest newspapers here, here, and here.
This week we’re running a second CIR on a measure to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries in Oregon. You can check out the live stream here, or get updates about it via Facebook and Twitter.
I look forward to discussing the CIR and more with the NCDD community today. Thanks again to Sandy Heierbacher for helping create this opportunity to share what we’re doing here in Oregon.
Tyrone Reitman and Elliot Shuford
Healthy Democracy Oregon
[email protected] and [email protected]