Elections to fill three Portland school board seats to be held in June

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Dec. 21—Elections to fill three vacant seats on the Portland school board will be held June 14.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to fill the seats on the nine-member board in the next regularly scheduled municipal election.

There was little discussion from the council before the vote, which follows an informal recommendation from the school board. The city clerk had estimated it would cost the city $53,000 to hold an earlier special election.

In backing the June date, members of the school board cited worries about low voter turnout if a special election were held in April, and said it might be difficult for new board members to join in the middle of the budget process.

Former District 5 board member Jeff Irish resigned in October. At-large board members Anna Trevorrow and Roberto Rodriguez left after being elected to the City Council in November. Irish's term was to expire in November 2023 while the two at-large seats were up for election in November.

Having two at-large seats up for election at the same time would trigger the same multiple-pass ranking process that was employed last spring in an 11-way race for four seats on the charter commission. That election — in which a candidate who finished seventh in the initial round of voting prevailed through the runoff process to secure a seat — highlighted how ranked-choice voting can sometimes upend multi-seat elections.

Proportional ranked-choice voting, in which the threshold to win in a multi-seat race is set at less than 50 percent and is based on the number of candidates, has been discussed as an alternative by the charter commission as it considers what changes to make to city government.

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