Sunday, April 09, 2006

Snohomish County Charter Review elections

Snohomish County is a home rule county like Pierce County. This year both Pierce and Snohomish counties elected Charter Review Commissions. Each county's charter called for three Charter Review Commissioners to be elected for each County Council district.

Pierce County chose to elect its Charter Review Commissioners by position within each district and to use a Cajun primary system where necessary. For some positions, more than three people filed to be candidates, so a primary was run in September with associated expenses. Some precincts in Pierce County had only Charter Review Commissioner races on their ballots in September.

Snohomish County chose to forego a Charter Review Commissioner primary and put all of the candidates for each district into one race on the general election ballot. The ballot told voters to vote for three candidates in their race for Charter Review Commissioner. The candidates with the top three vote totals in each district were then elected. The voters were able to follow these directions with no trouble. There was no voter confusion about the ballot reported by the Snohomish County Auditor. This system saved money for the county since there was no primary for this race.

In Snohomish County, they elect their partisan County Council members in odd-numbered years. The 2005 general election ballot in Snohomish County had partisan races with the winners of a Montana primary, various non-partisan races with the winners of a Cajun primary plus the Charter Review Commissioner races with a request for voters to vote for three candidates in one race. Despite these different types of elections, there were no reports of voter confusion.

In 2005, the Snohomish County Auditor saved money by eliminating the primary for the Charter Review Commission and having the voters vote for three candidates in the general election. There were no reports of voter confusion.

The draft charter amendment regarding Instant Runoff Voting before the Pierce County Charter Review Commission would also eliminate the primary for county level elections by having voters vote for three candidates in the general election.

2 Comments:

At 9:12 PM, Anonymous Brent White said...

Below is the Section of the Whatcom County Charter regarding the election of their Charter Review Commission:

Section 8.11 - Election and Period of Office.
At least every ten (10) years after the adoption of this Charter, the County Council shall cause an election of a Charter Review Commission, hereinafter referred to as the Commission. The Commission shall consist of fifteen (15) persons, an equal number from each Council district. There shall be no filing fee nor shall there be a primary. The qualified voters of the respective districts shall vote only for candidates from their district at the general election. Candidates' names shall appear on all ballots as drawn by lot. The member of the Commission who receives the greatest number of votes shall convene the Commission. The term of office shall be one year. The Commission shall meet at such times and in such places as it deems appropriate upon having given public notice. (amended by Referendum 1986; Ord. 93-045; amended by referendum 1995)

 
At 2:34 AM, Blogger Kelly Haughton said...

Below is the section of the Snohomish County Charter regarding the election of the Charter Review Commission:

Section 8.20 Election and Period of Office

Five years after the adoption of this charter and every ten years thereafter, the county council shall cause an election of a charter review commission, hereinafter referred to as the commission. The commission shall consist of fifteen persons, an equal number from each council district. There shall be no filing fee nor shall there be a primary. The election shall be held at the November general election and candidates shall run on a nonpartisan basis. The member of the commission who receives the greatest number of votes shall convene the commission. The term of office shall be one year. The commission may meet at such times and in such places as it deems appropriate.

 

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