Inside Opinion

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Tag: ranked choice voting


Status quo was loser in county elections

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Change is often what elections are about, and this one didn’t disappoint.

Pierce County voters were an unsentimental bunch, showing a ready inclination to abandon old allegiances for something – or someone – they deemed a better fit.

They scrapped a voting experiment after just one try, vented their frustration about a failed University Place development and vetoed the Pierce County Council’s choice for county auditor.

Read more »


Would Julie Anderson and Jan Shabro endorse each other as No. 2?

Kelly Haughton of ranked-choice voting fame wants to Will Baker-proof the upcoming election for Pierce County auditor. He’s asking rivals Jan Shabro and Julie Anderson to endorse each other as No. 2 choices for their supporters.

Shabro and Anderson are sharing the county’s ranked-choice ballot with Will Baker, a self-aggrandizing clown with a history of arrests and disorderly conduct convictions.

The nightmare scenario (alluded to in today’s editorial) is that Baker will wind up a hair ahead of one of the other two in a three-way race, then win in the next round when second-ranked candidates are counted. It’s conceivable that some of Anderson’s supporters will make Baker their second preference and that some of Shabro’s supporters will do the same rather than cast their second-choice vote for their candidate’s major opponent.

Here’s Haughton’s proposal, which I think is a good one:

Julie and Jan – I believe we can all agree that Will Baker would be a disaster as Auditor. To emphasize this point, I suggest that the two of you recommend each other as your second choice.
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Bruce Ramsey not keen on RCV

Bruce Ramsey’s Seattle Times column for tomorrow tackles ranked choice voting.

Ramsey begins by saying that RCV might have been a better system for this year’s Seattle mayor’s race in which one of the top contenders, incumbent Greg Nickels, didn’t even make it past the primary. But then Ramsey takes a look at the RCV experience in Pierce County and concludes:

Fairness and democracy are important values, but they aren’t everything. An election system needs to be simple, so that citizens will participate in it, trust it and accept the authority of the candidates chosen under it.

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Pierce County’s RCV vote has national implications

The county’s most prominent ranked-choice voting advocates – Kelly Haughton and Richard Anderson-Connolly – were also in to see us today. They were arguing against the proposed Pierce County charter amendment that would repeal RCV elections.

The stakes are high for ranked-choice supporters nationwide. When Haughton, Anderson-Connolly argued for RCV’s adoption here in 2006, they pointed to a handful of other U.S. jurisdictions (such as San Francisco) that seemed happy with the system. Their counterparts elsewhere would love to point to its acceptance in Pierce County.

But if Pierce County voters reject the system in November, RCV opponents elsewhere will

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Sam Reed: This isn’t the place for ranked-choice voting

In case it wasn’t clear enough already, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed – the state’s chief elections officer – is not a fan of Pierce County’s experiment with ranked-choice voting.

Visiting today, Reed said, “My personal opinion is that ranked choice voting may work well for parliamentary systems where you’re voting for one office or maybe two, but the thought of having it here – particularly out here in the West where you have so many candidates – is not very realistic.”

What’s a parliamentary system got to do with it?

In much of Europe, for example, “usually they are voting on one office for parliament.” (Elected members of parliament choose the prime minister and other higher offices.) Because there’s not much on the ballot, it’s easier for voters do deal with the greater complexity of ranked-choice decisions, according to Reed.
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Rig the system? Heaven forbid

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? Read more »


If poll voting dies, RCV could be partly responsible

Today’s story about Pat McCarthy wanting to do away with poll voting because of a pinched county budget sparked my memory of an exchange I had with Auditor Jan Shabro earlier this year.

I wrote to Shabro at the time she was arguing for the County Council to do away with poll voting to help ease budget cuts in her office. I was inquiring about her assertion that poll voting costs an extra $150,000 a year. We had long heard from her predecessor – McCarthy – that conducting elections entirely by mail would actually cost the county more than

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