Phil Keisling is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Public Service at Portland State University's Mark O. Hatfield School of Government. A former director of the Center, he served from 1991 to 1999 as Oregon's secretary of state following a two-year term in the Oregon House of Representatives.

Keisling also is a former journalist who worked for Portland’s Willamette Week and Washington Monthly magazine.

From 2000 to 2009, he was an executive vice president of CorSource Technology Group, a Beaverton, Ore.-based software services company. He is among the founders of several nonprofit organizaions, including the Oregon Progress Forum, the Oregon Public Affairs Network and Smart Grid Oregon.

April 29, 2019

3 Keys to a Far Better Way of Choosing Presidential Nominees

If states changed where and how we select candidates, turnout would soar and we'd learn a lot more about what voters really think.
October 3, 2018

A Better Path to Accurate Voter Rolls

Too many states manage them in ways that disenfranchise eligible voters. The fix is simple: Change a postcard.
June 1, 2018

What Voter Surge?

Once again, abysmal turnout in primary elections underlines the need to re-think the fundamentals of how we hold elections.
January 29, 2018

An Election Debacle That Didn’t Happen

Before moving on to the next vote-counting drama, let's reflect on what went right in Virginia and what policymakers and election administrators elsewhere can learn.
August 24, 2017

Elections and the Challenges of Technology

Our voting systems are a difficult marriage between ancient and modern tools. Keeping the proper balance is tricky but crucial.
May 17, 2017

The Voting Problem We Do Need to Fix

It's not fraud. It's tens of millions of inaccurate registration records. Election administrators need better tools.
February 8, 2017

Our Ever-Older Electorate and What It Means for Democracy

Younger Americans don't much like what's happening in our elections. But they're not turning out to cast their ballots.
October 24, 2016

Will American Voters Upend the Election Process?

Ballot measures in several states would change the rules in dramatic ways. It's a challenge to "politics as usual."
July 12, 2016

The Wrong Lessons From a Voting Fiasco

Maricopa County's botched primary brought accusations of voter suppression. What really happened is more complicated -- and even encouraging.
April 6, 2016

Why Do We Make It So Hard for Americans to Vote?

Even in this intense presidential election season, voter turnout has been abysmal. There's a better way to get voters to participate.
September 24, 2015

Primary Absurdity: Our Expensive Presidential Beauty Contests

State presidential primaries have strayed far from their original purposes. So why must taxpayers pick up the tab?
July 1, 2015

Why We Need to Take the ‘Fire’ Out of ‘Fire Department’

Firefighters don't actually fight that many fires these days. It's time to re-think how we deliver costly emergency services.
December 10, 2014

The Troubling Partisanization of Elections for Secretary of State

Party money is now pouring into these races, which once drew little attention. The threat to the integrity of elections these officials administer worries two former secretaries of state.
September 16, 2014

What a Public Employee Really Costs

It's about a lot more than salaries. We need to do a better job of comparing total costs, both across jurisdictions and across comparable jobs.
May 7, 2014

The Few Who Decide Who Governs America

These days, most elections are won or lost long before Election Day in primaries in which tiny numbers of people vote. It's plunging our political system further into dysfunction.
February 13, 2014

Beyond Groupthink: the Real Way to Reform Voting

A presidential commission's recommendations focus largely on improving the polling-place experience. But why do we even need polling places? Let's let everyone vote by mail.
November 6, 2013

The Wrong Ways to Elect America's Mayors

Holding partisan mayoral elections ensures low voter turnout and disenfranchises vast numbers of voters. So does voting in odd-numbered years. We need to re-think how we approach these important elections.