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Rig the system? Heaven forbid

Post by Cheryl Tucker on Sep. 21, 2009 at 4:16 am with 11 Comments »
December 22, 2009 2:11 pm

Want to rig the system? Then vote yes on three Pierce County ballot measures that would make election-related changes to the county charter.

At least that seems to be the implication of signssign urging voters to reject Propositions 1, 2 and 3. The signs, which say “No rigging the system,” suggest that if the measures pass, suddenly elections would be “rigged” in Pierce County. And no one wants rigging, right?

So what exactly are the propositions about?

According to our coverage: Proposition 1 “would move elections for County Council and executive to odd-numbered years and allow people elected to those offices to serve three consecutive four-year terms. Currently, they are limited to two consecutive terms.”

Proposition 2 “would move elections for county assessor-treasurer, auditor and sheriff to odd-numbered years.”

And Proposition 3 would dump ranked choice voting in county races and return to the previous primary system.

How do any of these changes constitute “rigging the system”? One might argue that two terms are better than three, that the county races should be held in even-numbered years and that RCV is a better way of electing people. But the alternatives are hardly “rigging,” which implies misconduct, even illegality.

Let’s argue these ballot measures on their merits – or lack thereof – and not imply that their supporters are up to borderline criminal mischief.

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. khaughton says:

    In 2006, there were five incumbents running for re-election in county level elections. Four of these politicians ran unopposed. The fifth incumbent had only one opponent. In the past, the News Tribune and others have lamented the lack of choice on our local ballots.

    In 2008, with term limits and ranked choice voting, there were 22 candidates for seven county level positions. The three incumbents running for re-election all had opponents.

    Healthy competition in democracy means having candidates from which to choose.

    The three proposed charter amendments would have the effect of taking us back to the days of 2006 and little competition.

    This attempted rigging of the system is not criminal, but it is self-serving.

    For more information, see noriggingthesystem.com.

  2. Cheryl,

    Since the seven Charter Review Commission’s Amendments passed in 2006, the County Council has proposed 11 Charter Amendments of its own that affect the election process. Some of those changes just flat contradict the work of the Charter Review Commission.

    You’re right, if you look at any one of these 11 proposed changes, one might be able to discern a reasonableness to it. But if you look a the 11 in total, you have to ask yourself, what the heck are they doing? Why are elected officials changing the way they get elected? Was everything the Charter Review Commission did wrong? Should elected officials be able to invalidate the work of the commission? What is crisis that spurs them so quickly to action?

    The there is the cynicism of the Council’s term limit proposal. In 2007 the increase in term limits for the Auditor, Assessor-Treasurer and Sheriff were sold as reasonable changes based on the administration verses legislative roles these people filled. Now in 2009 the rational for increasing the Exec and the Council’s term limits is because it will make them like the Auditor, Assessor-Treasurer, and Sheriff.

    And this year’s Amendment 1 and 2 are similarly cynical. The council combined od-year elections with term limits in Amendment 1, then created a separate Amendment 2 for all other odd year elections in what looks like a gerrymandering attempt to group maximize chances of passing term limits Amendment.

    So yes, look at any of these Amendments individually and they may seem reasonable – that is what their backers want you to do. But when I look at the entire landscape I see a very cynical attempt to manipulate the county election system by people who would personally benefit from the changes.

    jte

  3. khaughton says:

    On August 30, the News Tribune editorial staff wrote about on the ballot title for one of the charter amendments, the “ballot (is) no place for propaganda.” We agree.

    Putting prejudicial ballot titles on the ballot was done through manipulating the process, but it is a clear cut example of rigging the system to benefit those who want to keep their political jobs without competition.

    Reject all three charter amendments.

  4. Hoodsportwriter says:

    I will probably vote “yes” on all 3 measures but the whole subject needs more in-depth discussion from both groups (pro and con) than this short little drive by editorial.

    Major problem with media today – you strive so hard to be in the middle you only catch part of the story….the only thing in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead skunks (newspapers?).

  5. dennyknowles says:

    Come on TNT, I appreciate sarcasm but read what people blogging about on the rigging deal. Saying these ballot measures are rigged is being nice. RCV should be the only thing on the ballot but the current PC Council has seen fit to try and “Rig” the system by trying to trick voters into giving them one more term in office. Then you add the fact the newly PC Council appointed PC Prosecutor Mark Lindquist is writing the verbage in the voters Pamphlet for this fall’s ballot favoring extending term limits for the current PC Council. This is not Rigging the system? Any change to the charter should have come from the PC Charter Review Board

  6. ldozy1234 says:

    TNT either has missed the obvious or is again trying to lead the sheeple
    . By throwing in a possible “ringer”( RCV) in this triple play, its obvious that supporters of Prop 1 are hoping for voters to be stupid enough to vote yes , therefore getting the unpopular term limits issue a free ride.
    It’s the same con as with our past auditor last election. Her personal instructions for RCV verses the ballot instructions were so confusing and enabled skewed poll results she needed to try and end the very system she disliked and fought against implementing.
    I’ve lost a lot of respect for those who have proposed this ballot in the triple play measure and some who have signed on to support it have lost my future vote.
    Voting YES will acknowledge that the voters are as dumb as they expect and only lead the way to more skewed double and triple play ballots in the future to try and get unpopular items approved under this form of duress. This ballot is an insult to any voter and a huge threat to the future of voting here in Pierce.

  7. Wow (abashed) – I typed that previous passage in a hurry as I was heading out the door – here is a more understandable version:

    Cheryl,

    Since the seven Charter Review Commission’s Amendments passed in 2006, the County Council has proposed 11 Charter Amendments of its own that affect the election process. Some of those changes just flat contradict the work of the Charter Review Commission.

    You’re right, if you look at any one of these 11 proposed changes, one might be able to discern a reasonableness to it. But if you look a the 11 in total, you have to ask yourself, what the heck are they doing? Why are elected officials changing the way they get elected? Was everything the Charter Review Commission did wrong? Should elected officials be able to invalidate the work of the commission? What is crisis that spurs them so quickly to action?

    Then there is the cynicism of the Council’s term limit proposal. In 2007 the increase in term limits for the Auditor, Assessor-Treasurer and Sheriff were sold as reasonable changes based on the administration verses legislative roles these people filled. Now in 2009 the rational for increasing the Exec and the Council’s term limits is because it will make them like the Auditor, Assessor-Treasurer, and Sheriff.

    So it would appear the original rationale for increasing term limits for administrative offices is suspect. The more cynical view would suggest that we were being set up for the move to increase Council term limits.

    And this year’s Amendment 1 and 2 are similarly cynical. The council combined odd-year elections with term limits in Amendment 1, then created a separate Amendment 2 for all other odd year elections in what looks like a gerrymandering attempt to maximize chances of passing the term limits Amendment 1.

    So yes, look at any of these Amendments individually and they may seem reasonable – that is what their backers want you to do. But when I look at the entire landscape I see a very cynical attempt to manipulate the county election system by people who would personally benefit from the changes.

    jte

  8. Collectively, these three Proposed Charter Amendments would:

    -roll back term limits for those currently in office
    -move local elections to times when far fewer voters vote
    -reduce the amount of political competition
    -double the amount of money politicians could raise from special interests

    That’s not rigging the system?

    REJECT ALL 3 PROPOSED CHARTER AMENDMENTS

    NoRiggingTheSystem.com

  9. jimkingjr says:

    Rigging the system? That is what Houghton, et.al., are doing tying whatever they are calling their silly voting system nowadays to the other two issues.

    I really wish that Proposition 1 had been separated, and the shift to odd years been combined with Proposition 2- although the major reason for odd year elections is to let state legislators run for county office without having to give up their legislative seat. But term limits and odd-year elections have nothing to do with Proposition 3.

    Proposition 3 is about getting rid of the silly election system dishonestly foisted on Pierce County voters. “No Rigging The System” is about again being very less than honest with the voters- but I doubt Houghton, et.al., can fool them a second time.

  10. S_Emerson says:

    Never before in the 29 years since the Charter was written has any council put amendments on the ballot, yet this renegade council has put 12 amendments on the ballot since the Charter Review Commission put The People’s 9 on the 2006 ballot.

    The Council put 8 amendments on the 2007 ballot, 1 amendment on the 2008 ballot, and these 3 amendments on the 2009 ballot.

    These three should be named Amendments 37, 38 and 39 – not 1, 2, 3.

    The Council’s 12 amendments in 3 years equals nearly half of all the amendments made to our US constitution in more than 200 years (a total of 27 amendments).

    It’s time to end the madness – REJECT ALL 3!

  11. Cheryl,

    You wrote:

    “Let’s argue these ballot measures on their merits – or lack thereof – ”

    You’ll realize there is not much chance of this happening when you see the “Yes on all 3″ groups campaigns and signs at http://pcbgl.org/.

    Paying particular attention to the message on the sign on the left, notice the misdirection that intimates that approving Amendments 1,2, & 3 are required in order to repeal Ranked Choice Voting. Of course 1 and 2 have nothing to do with the Ranked Choice Voting, but the last thing this group of elected and appointed officials wants to talk about is the proposed roll back of term limits.

    They _are_ attempting to rig the system in their favor Cheryl, and they deserved to be called out on the issue.

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