Sunday, November 02, 2008

Historic Ranked Choice Voting Election in Pierce County

Pierce County voters are about to participate in an historic Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) election for county officials. Voters will have more choices and will be able to order their choices. Voters will be able to choose the person, not the party, if they want to do so. RCV ensures that we get majority winners in each election. It is an exciting path-breaking event in our history.

More Choices When It Matters

In the race for Pierce County Executive, voters will have four solid candidates from whom to choose. The Assessor-Treasurer race has six candidates. The Sheriff and District #2, County Council races have three candidates each in them. This is in stark contrast to the state level elections where there will be only one or two candidates on the ballot.

There are more third party and independent candidates on the November ballot than the rest of the state combined. Independent voters in North Tacoma will have Ken Paulson as a choice for County Council. Mike Lonergan is running as a third party candidate for County Executive.

Vote Your Heart

In these races, voters will be allowed to list their first, second and third choices. In the County Executive race, if you love candidate A, like candidate B, can live with candidate C and loath candidate D, you, as a voter, can list A as your first choice, B as your second choice and C as your third choice. No need to worry about throwing the race to candidate D. No need to settle for second or third best, because "they have the best chance to win." Vote your heart in these ranked choice elections.

Majority Winners

In a RCV election, if one candidate receives a majority of the first choice votes, then that candidate is the winner. If no candidate receives a majority of the first choice votes, then the candidate with the fewest first choices is eliminated and those votes are allocated based on the voters' second choices.

If after this allocation a candidate has a majority of the votes, that candidate wins. If not, repeat the process until one candidate has a majority. This process ensures a majority winner and prevents candidates from winning with less than a majority of the voters supporting that candidate.

Remember to Fill Out the Separate Ballot

This will be the first November election with more than one ballot card in Pierce County. Be sure to fill out both the traditional ballot card and the Ranked Choice Voting card and return both in the envelope.

Make sure you read the voters' pamphlet for the instructions. The Elections Department has done a good job of explaining how to fill out your ballot for these races.

Participate in History

This RCV election is, by far, the largest implementation of RCV in a partisan election in the US. Have fun with it. Vote your heart. People throughout the country see Pierce County as a leader in election reform. And you get to participate.

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At 1:52 PM, Blogger Bob Richard said...

Thanks for some good news. After days of reading about nothing but national and international economics and finance, this is welcome indeed.

At 2:51 PM, Blogger BKlein said...

I often think that if all our officials were elected with Ranked Choice Voting we would not have half the problems we now have with economic and social issues. They would represent us better becasue they would be chosen by more of us.

At 4:30 PM, Anonymous Jim Burrows said...

I've written an RCV processing simulation using random 3-choice ballots with the 9 candidates in the 2004 WA presidential election. It's easy to process 3 million ballots on a laptop computer. I've heard the Pierce county ballots will be available on-line sometime for more realistic laptop computations - hope so.

At 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very happy for Pierce County. I hope that King County will follow.

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I'm jealous. I wish my city used RCV :(

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is much more democratic than the plurality voting most of us have to use. It's bitter to me every time I have to make a choice between voting my true opinion and voting for a less-preferred candidate just to keep my last choice from winning.

I hope we can soon have more democracy in King County!

At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Dick Muri said...

The next step for Pierce County voters, if rank choice voting is to be accepted as a viable option among the electorate, is to have local governing bodies select RCV. To do that, we need to move the Pierce County government elections to odd numbered years to align with other municipal elections (school, fire, city/town, park, etc.. I will introduce legislation today (4 November 2008) to have all county government elections moved to odd numbered years. This is already done in King and Snohomish counties to the north of us. One of the reasons to have RCV elections is to save the costs of a primary. In even numbered years we have congressional, legislative, etc elections. The primary will be held with or without the benefits of the county government RCV system. Under my proposal, we will transition the county elections to 2013 and 2015, by making the next 2010 round of county elections three year terms. The same in 2012.


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