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.