Tuesday, January 06, 2009

RCV Cost Less than Top 2 in 2009

In 2009, Pierce County will hold a special election to fill out the remainder of the Auditor's term. The election will be a Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) election. This RCV election will cost less than electing the Auditor using the Top 2 system.

Why? RCV folds the primary and general election in one election and a redundant Top 2primary would cost the county $250,000-300,000. The Top 2 system requires a separate primary and the county would bear these costs. The costs of the separate election will be borne by the local jurisdictions who are being forced to use the old system of electing their officials.

Former Pierce County Auditor Pat McCarthy has talked widely about the start-up costs associated with RCV. No one has talked about the long term benefits of this investment.

Pierce County will no longer have to pay for separate primaries. The software keeps running. Procedures will be improved as the staff gains experience with the system. Voters end up with a more open and transparent system due to the publishing of the ballot image file on the web.

In some ways, the expenses of the RCV software are similar to the expenses of implementing the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The voting experience is improved in the long term as a result of an upfront investment in equipment and software.



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