Saturday, February 24, 2007

Voting System Broken; Let's Try Alternatives

We have tried the pick-a-party system. It is a failure with voters. The voters find the system disenfranchising and confusing. The spoilage rates on primary ballots are extremely high. Public officials of all stripes hear nothing but complaints about the system. The Secretary of State's office and the county auditors have tried hard to make it work. It is time to move on and try something different.

In Pierce County, the voters have chosen to try ranked choice voting to elect their county level officials. In places where ranked choice voting has been tried the voters believe it is an improvement over how they voted in the past. In addition, voters are able to vote correctly as evidenced by low spoilage rates. The spoilage rates on ranked choice ballots are an order of magnitude lower than the rates on pick-a-party ballots.

When the Pierce County Charter Amendment passed in November, local government officials such as city council members and park commissioners asked to be able to use ranked choice voting to elect their officials as well. These public officials liked what they heard about this alternative to traditional voting systems and wanted state enabling legislation giving them the option to try the alternative.

As a result, we are promoting Senate Bill 6000 and its companion House Bill 2202 to allow cities and other local taxing entities the option to use ranked choice voting starting in 2009. These bills will allow us to expand the search for alternatives to our current broken system. Please email your State Senator and State Representatives to encourage them to support SB 6000 and HB 2202.

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