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