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Ranked choice voting advocate: We may try again

Post by David Wickert on Nov. 4, 2009 at 4:18 pm with 10 Comments »
November 6, 2009 9:33 am

Nothing is official until election results are certified, but Kelly Haughton knows ranked choice voting has decided its last race

Kelly Haughton
Kelly Haughton

in Pierce County. At least for now.

In an interview this afternoon, Haughton, a former Russell Investments executive and one of ranked choice voting’s biggest advocates, acknowledged that Proposed Charter Amendment 3 is almost certain to pass. As of this morning, the measure repealing ranked choice voting was passing by a margin of 71 percent to 29 percent.

“I think for right now, the people have spoken and we appreciate that there were a fair number of people who supported us,” Haughton said.

Haughton doesn’t think anyone will try to revive the voting system here any time soon. But he thinks it will continue to catch on elsewhere in the country. He noted that voters in Minneapolis successfully used ranked choice voting for the first time Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s a near-term possibility,” Haughton said. “What we’re going to see over the course of the next two years is it’s going to grow in popularity in the rest of the country. Maybe after that happens some more, there will be some more interest (here).”

Haughton blames county officials – including Auditor Jan Shabro and former Auditor (and current executive) Pat McCarthy – for the unpopularity of ranked choice voting. He said the auditor’s office taught voters how to use the system but didn’t teach them about why it’s a good system.

“The voters were reacting to the messages they were getting from the elections officials,” he said.

Shabro and McCarthy have repeatedly said they did everything possible to make ranked choice voting a success. But both also have made it clear they’re not fans of the system.

On Wednesday Shabro said the voters’ decision to scrap ranked choice voting will save the county $500,000 next year.

Pierce County
Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. DragonQuest says:

    People saw what ranked choice voting can do for Pierce County….They got Dale Washam. That explains why they repealed it.

  2. Interesting it appears to both Shabro & ranked choice were voted out.

    The reason i lean towards being in favor of ranked choice is because I despise the 2 party system & in theory ranked choice should give 3rd party candidates a better chance. Of course in non partisan races, that doesn’t really matter…………

  3. jimkingjr says:

    Even in theory ranked choice doesn’t give third party candidates a beter chance. If you can’t muster more votes than the top two parties, you don’t get anywhere, no matter what the system.

    If you don’t even run candidates- as most third parties fail to do- you also don’t get anywhere.

    Maybe you ought to try it in Wahkiakum County…

  4. DragonQuest,

    The top two got us Michael Hecht, does that mean we should repeal it? A voting system is no less valid if it does not produce the candidate you would have preferred to win.

  5. This result is just more evidence that voters are satisfied with Top Two. RCV was born of a need to replace the hated pick-a-party. Now that that execrable system is dead and gone, and RCV proved to be a bit of a mysterious labyrinth, voters are ready settle into the “new normal,” i.e., Top Two.

  6. witchiwoman says:

    I agree with jimkingjr. Even with ranked choice you end up with the top two. And it’s an unfair stacking of votes. I’m so glad it was repealed. I want our old open ballot back. It was the politicians who didn’t like that, not the voters. We loved the open ballot. The politicians did away with it without asking us. And then they acted like it was our idea….. NOT.

  7. Acadian’s got it right, top two is a big improvement over the older primary system – and the two stage election does give issues a better chance to focus and gel.

    I’m wondering if an RCV **primary** might be just the ticket, the more the merrier in the primary and RCV would help to make sure folks can vote for who they think is best first and who they think will win second.

    Such a process would make the final election simpler for all.

  8. smcelhiney says:

    The primary should be where the parties pick their own candidates by their own methods at their own expense. Then they should get to present them to us in the general election.

    Save 1/2 a mil by scrapping RCV, what a lie. Get rid of the primary and save 1.5 mil. But it gives more control to the big parties and those with money to advertise. And it allows the tried and true technique of flinging mud rather than addressing issues to win election.

    We’ll miss you RCV, rest in peace until this county gets a clue.

  9. kevin22262 says:

    Top Two ALSO needs to go.

  10. Acadian says:

    Why, kevin? Most of us, by far, think otherwise.

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