Sunday, March 30, 2008

Profile: Mike Lonergan, Pierce County Executive candidate

Pierce County, Washington will be using Ranked Choice Voting to elect its county officials in November. This is the first in a series of profiles of candidates running for county office. Lonergan's candidacy is especially interesting since he may be the only independent candidate on the November ballot in the entire state of Washington due to the state's move to the top 2 system this year.

For more information about the County Executive race, see here.

For more information about Mike Lonergan, see here or here.

Tacoma City Councilman Mike Lonergan is certain that ranked choice voting makes his independent bid to be Pierce County Executive stronger—but he’s not so sure that it will change the way he campaigns.

“I’m very happy to be running as an independent under the ranked choice voting system,” Lonergan said. “The problem with the other system is that an independent wouldn’t be taken seriously. They wouldn’t be participating in the primary, when there is a tremendous amount of focus on the candidates, with newspapers and other organizations making endorsements.”

Despite the advantages Lonergan believes he will enjoy as an independent in the partisan race for County Executive, he does not anticipate utilizing some of the innovative RCV campaign tactics seen in other locales, such as cooperative campaigning that includes joint mailings or candidates appearing at each other’s events.

Lonergan’s campaign theme is “executive excellence,” which keys off his years as executive director of the Tacoma Rescue Mission, as well as years serving in leadership at the Salvation Army.

“My premise is not to be anyone’s second choice,” he said. “How does a person who’s running on excellence try to be somebody’s second choice? Either you really support that the CEO of the county should be a proven CEO in another venue, or you don’t.”

Lonergan’s campaign is focused around economic development in Pierce County, but through the lens of crime prevention and job training.

“Until we actually make crime prevention a higher priority and until we actually achieve higher results in education, we are not going to have what it takes to succeed with economic development, no matter how many incentives we offer,” he said.

Lonergan is currently serving his second term on Tacoma City Council in at-large position 6. During his time on City Council he has chaired the four-year-old Government, Performance, and Finance committee, which has sought to increase effectiveness and efficiency within city government.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ranked choice voting: Pick-a-party primary replacement

If the top-2 primary is officially pronounced dead by the US Supreme Court, ranked choice voting will become the logical replacement for the unpopular pick-a-party primary. Pierce County's new ranked choice election system will become the role model for the state.

The US Supreme Court is due to announce its decision soon on the legality of the top-2 primary system passed by Washington state voters. The Democratic and Republican parties sued the state to have the top-2 declared illegal and won. The state and the Grange have appealed the case all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Ranked choice voting, as being implemented in Pierce County, can be thought of as a "blanket general" election. All candidates earn a place on the general election ballot with the same number of signatures, regardless of party. The parties are given the right to determine which candidates can use their party label on the ballot, thus allowing ranked choice voting to meet the legal hurdles previously set out by the Supreme Court.

In a ranked choice general election, voters are allowed to list their first, second and third choices for each race. These choices can be made for any candidate, any party. In this way, ranked choice voting is like our old blanket primary.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Ranked Choice Voting forum

League of Women Voters
of Tacoma-Pierce County,
Citizens for a Better Ballot, and
the Social Justice Team (Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation)

a forum on
Ranked Choice Voting

Thursday, March 20th

University of Puget Sound Student Center - Room 101
Between 14th and 15th Streets and Alder Street and Lawrence Street

Parking is off Alder Street on the south side of the Student Center

7:00 p.m. - 8:30 pm


Rob Richie – Executive Director of FairVote
Rebecca Brauhn - Pierce County Elections Specialist
Kelly Haughton – Citizens for a Better Ballot

Pierce County will use Ranked Choice Voting for the first time in
County Elections in November 2008.

This is a great opportunity to find out more about
Ranked Choice Voting and to ask questions of the experts.

We will also have an opportunity to learn about the National Popular Vote as well as other legislation regarding elections.

Refreshments will be served.

League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County
702 Broadway, Suite 105, Tacoma, WA 98402

Funded by the League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund