Sunday, February 24, 2008

Nader and Ranked Choice Voting

Ranked choice voting is the answer. Ralph Nader is the question. Nader's recent announcement of his candidacy for President is a reminder of how our current system of electing candidates is flawed.

Many Democrats believe that Nader cost Al Gore the Presidency. These people believe that if those Florida voters who voted for Nader were asked who their second choice was they would have listed Gore.

Why do the Democrats hate it when a like minded candidate announces his candidacy? Why don't people welcome this candidate who broadens the debate? Our current system makes him a spoiler. Ranked choice voting makes him just another candidate.

If we used ranked choice voting to elect our President, those Florida voters would have had the opportunity to reveal their second choices and those second choices would have had an impact on the election.

In Pierce County this year, there are two strong Democrats (Calvin Goings and Pat McCarthy) running for County Executive. Goings and McCarthy plus independent Mike Lonergan will all be on the November ballot. Since Pierce County will be using ranked choice voting, voters will be able to reveal their first, second and third choices.

The Democrats in Pierce County are counting on Democratic voters to list Goings and McCarthy as their first and second choices. Further, they are hoping to get Lonergan's supporters to list McCarthy and Goings as their second and third choices. If they are successful, one of the Democrats will win.

Too bad, this system has not been adopted nationwide. Then all of us would welcome Nader into the race as someone who will broaden the debate without spoiling the election.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Caucus, primary and ranked choice voting

Ryan Blythen writes about his frustration with the current party system and how ranked choice voting is superior to our current system.

Our current system is rigged in favor of the Democrats and Republicans. Any participation by independents or minor parties is eliminated by the set of rules by which elections are run. In a system with more flexibility, voters frustrated with the Democrats and Republicans have more effective safety valves with which to participate in our democracy.

Ranked choice voting in Pierce County with its easy access to the ballot and the elimination of the "wasted vote" makes it possible for political activists who do not fit neatly in the current system to participate anyway.

For example, Ron Paul supporters who have been stiff-armed by the Republican Party can campaign for Libertarians and independents who support their ideas. They can do this all within a system which will not throw the election to the "greater of two evils."

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Local Option RCV bill passes out of Committee

Senate Bill 6000 passed out of the Senate Government Operations Committee today by a 7-0 vote. SB6000 would give Pierce County cities, school districts and port districts the option to use Ranked Choice Voting in electing their council members, board members and commissioners starting in 2009.

This bill would give these local jurisdictions the option to use this new voting system which voters in Pierce County will first use in November this year. Since Pierce County will already have the software and staff required to implement RCV in place, this option will be low cost and in many cases will save the local jurisdictions money.

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