Thursday, July 30, 2009

League Favors Ranked Choice Voting in Pierce County

The League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County has issued the following letter about proposed charter amendment 3 in Pierce County.

"The League of Women Voters of Tacoma-Pierce County opposes Pierce County Charter Amendment 3, which the County Council has put on the 2009 ballot.
Charter Amendment 3 attempts to repeal ranked choice voting in Pierce County races. The League strongly recommends a NO vote, and supports retaining ranked choice voting (RCV).

In last November’s election, with RCV, Pierce County voters had more choices than in previous elections. The County Executive race, for instance, was the most competitive race since the institution of the county charter, and the League supports increasing the number of citizens running for office.

The League also strongly supports lessening the impact of money in politics. In 2008, three of the six winners in RCV races were outspent by opponents.

Finally, the League is committed to increasing voter participation. Without RCV, third-party candidates are knocked out of the running during the low turn-out Primary vote. Their issues, sometimes important, are not heard for the rest of the election cycle. RCV allows voters to hear from every candidate, broadening the issues before the public, during the high turn-out general campaign.

Let’s retain RCV and remedy whatever its weaknesses may be. The League’s mission is to encourage informed and active participation in government, and to increase understanding of major public policy issues. Ranked choice voting is instrumental to those goals."

See for more information.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

King County August 2009 Primary

King County's bill for its share of the August primary costs will likely exceed $1 million again this year. There are even fewer jurisdictions participating in the primary this year than in 2007. Thus, there are fewer jurisdictions over which to spread the cost. By adopting Ranked Choice Voting, King County can eliminate this cost to their taxpayers for years to come. In addition, by having RCV capability in place, this would allow entities such as the Port of Seattle to save money as well.

The August 2009 primary in King County will feature races for county level offices, the Port of Seattle, 15 city councils, 4 school districts and 2 fire districts. (The Port races feature candidates Rob Holland, David Doud, Al Yuen, Juan Paraiso, Max Vekich, Tom Albro, and Robert Walker.) This is a total of 23 jurisdictions as compared to 35 in the 2007 primary.

Since there are fewer entities sharing the costs this year, King County will be getting a higher allocation. However, there may be some cost savings associated with closing the polls down. The resulting costs for the county will still be over $1 million for the primary.

The cost savings of RCV primarily come from eliminating elections. For King County, due to its size plus holding elections in odd-numbered years, the savings over time would be substantial.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Paul Jacob urges No vote on Pierce County Charter Amendment 3

Paul Jacob, President of Citizens in Charge, criticizes local politicians for attempting to repeal Ranked Choice Voting in Pierce County. Jacob, a long time proponent of term limits, also urges a No vote on the term limit extension charter amendment.

While many of the proponents of RCV are from the liberal/progressive side of the political spectrum, Jacob clearly does not fit into that category. While Jacob is an idealist, he is viewed as more of a conservative than a liberal. And, now in the Pierce County debate on term limits, he is on the same side as Bill Baarsma. I guess RCV and term limits make for unusual bedfellows.

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