Saturday, February 07, 2009

Vetting and Party Labels

At last night's League of Women Voters' forum on Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) at the University of Puget Sound, there were comments made about the vetting of candidates by the parties and the value of such vetting. Some people seemed confused about what rights the parties have under the various elections systems we have.

In a partisan RCV race, the parties have the right to determine which candidates can use the party name on the ballot. In a partisan Top 2 race, the parties have no control over which candidates use their name on the ballot.

In the 2008 partisan RCV Pierce County Executive race, Pat McCarthy and Calvin Goings received permission from the Pierce County Democrats to run as Democrats. No other candidates appeared on the ballot as Democrats.

Shawn Bunney received permission to run as a Republican, but Mike Lonergan who also sought to run as a Republican was turned down at the County Convention. Bunney was the only candidate labelled a Republican on the ballot. This was the Republican vetting of the candidates. Now, Lonergan was able to run as a third party candidate, but he was not able to use the Republican label.

If the race had been a partisan Top 2 race, then Lonergan could have simply filed as "prefers Republican" and the Republican Party would have had no opportunity to vet him.

In a Top 2 race for State Legislature (36th District, Position 1), John Burbank was nominated by the Democratic Party, but Reuven Carlyle ran as "prefers Democratic Party." Carlyle won the race. If Carlyle leaves office before the end of his term, the Democrats do not even have the right to replace him since he was not their nominee.

Bottom line: If you want the parties to be able to vet the candidates, then RCV works and the Top 2 does not.

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At 5:50 PM, Anonymous Krist Novoselic said...

Justice Scalia, with whom Justice Kennedy joins, dissenting I-872 as facially constitutional,
“The views of the self-identified party supporter color perception of the party's message, and that self-identification on the ballot, with no space for party repudiation or party identification of its own candidate, impairs the party's advocacy of its standard bearer. Because Washington has not demonstrated that this severe burden upon parties' associational rights is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest--indeed, because it seems to me Washington's only plausible interest is precisely to reduce the effectiveness of political parties--I would find the law unconstitutional.”

Man, did Scalia call this one! Did you catch that? The Top-Two is a vehicle to "reduce the effectiveness of political parties". This is Washington voters popular perception of I-872 - a party shouldn't nominate!

I-872 is a de facto non-partisan system. Many in the Pierce County Democratic Party are railing against RCV. But the partisan version of RCV, and the guarantees it gives political association, are a lifeline to their party!

They’re going to sink like King CO. Dems did when Pierce voters pass a non-partisan system for all their county elections. (Who chooses Ron Sims replacement? Not sidelined King CO Democrats!!!!!!!! Who chose the Pierce Auditor – not sidelined Pierce Democrats!!!!)

Even if Pierce doesn’t go non-partisan soon, Pierce D’s have no real idea where to go with elections. They’ll hang on the sides until I-872 "reduces their effectiveness" enough and they’re dead in the water.

RCV is the rescue ship and Pierce Democrats are not only refusing to get on board – they’re firing at the vessel only because they perceive it will not take them where they want to go. “We want to go to Liverpool – not Dublin!”

But they have no idea of the danger they’re in.

On the Titanic, the band played on in a dignified gesture as they accepted their fate.

The Pierce D’s are only holding their breath, fantasizing about returning to the Pick-A-Party. It’s delusional. They're doomed.

At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm still trying to figure out what the dude above is ranting about in the comment about. Commenting on blogs is probably not a good replacement for anger management pills.

At 11:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The "ranter" above is despairing about the path the Pierce Democrats appear to be on. I agree with him, RCV could be a lifeline for them and they don't seem to get it.


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