2007 August Primary Cost Allocations for Pierce County
After each election in Pierce County (and other counties around the state), the costs of running the election are allocated to the entities which participated in the election. The mechanism for allocating costs is set by the state.
For the 2007 August Primary in Pierce County, the cost allocations are available here. Total cost of the election was $850,239.28. The largest allocations went to:
Port of Tacoma: $327,176.55
Tacoma Schools: $85,090.70
Metro Parks of Tacoma: $80,003.14
City of Tacoma: $78,721.44
The county itself paid no money since there were no county level elections in 2007. In 2009, if the county was using the Top Two election system, it would have incurred expenses about the same level as the Port incurred in 2007.
In the case of the Port, the School District and the Park District, they had only one seat each which had a primary, so all of these expenses were incurred due to a single contested race. There is something wrong with this system.
The Metro Parks District incurred its $80,000 of expense due to three candidates signing up to run for one seat on the Commission. The eventual winner, Tim Reid, won over 50% of the vote in the August election. Reid ended up winning over 50% of the vote in two elections to win the seat. RCV would have accomplished this in just one election and save the Park District a significant amount of money. Our current system requires these two elections and the associated expense at times when the Park District could use the money to fund the parks.
The current system discourages people from participating in our democracy. Running for office is likely to cost the entity significant money. RCV makes running for office a public service. The current system does not.
These kinds of savings of time, money and energy are available for counties like King, Snohomish and Whatcom counties since they elect their county level officials in odd-numbered years on a regular basis and get the cost savings from sharing the systems.