LWV Washington
POSITION IN BRIEF: Action to facilitate changes in the state constitution to achieve a representative and effective state legislature. Action to promote an informed electorate. Action to limit methods of financing political campaigns in order to ensure the public's right to know, combat undue influence, enable candidates to compete more equitably for public office and promote citizen participation in the election process. Action to support access for citizens to initiate or modify legislation through the initiative and referendum process. Action to protect the interests of all affected parties in considering the formation of new counties. Action to clarify in legislation the processes in county formation and to require that the entire county have the ability to vote on separation. Action to allow more options for alternative election systems that promote "representative-ness” such as proportional representation, citizen participation and accountability and a primary that is “open” and encourages minor party participation.
…The LWVWA adopted a two-year study, "An Evaluation of Major Election Methods and Selected State Election Laws," at the 1999 state convention in Spokane, WA.  This study, completed in 2000, described a number of election systems in use throughout the world which could serve as alternatives to the system commonly used in the United States. Election methods dealing with both multimember and single-member races were described. The study provided a list of criteria by which election methods could be evaluated, and these criteria were ranked by League members, with representative-ness, citizen participation and accountability receiving top ranking. The term "representative-ness" was coined to signify the degree to which a legislative body reflects the demographic makeup of the state (mirrors the political preferences of thevoters, including ethnic, racial, philosophic, or minorities) and also to signify protection of the right to representation for ethnic, racial, philosophic and other minorities.  After reading and discussing the study, League members concluded that the State should enable jurisdictions in Washington to experiment with a variety of election methods.

…Recognizing the complexities of the topic of election methods, delegates at the 2001 LWVWA convention adopted a one-year continuation of the Election Methods study focusing on the three alternative election methods currently receiving considerable public attention:
  • Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) for single winner offices (produces a majority vote winner.)
  • Choice Voting (Single Transferable Voting) for representative bodies used to achieve proportional representation.
  • Cumulative Voting (achieve semi-proportional representation)
An explanatory program was developed which utilized visual aids and mock voting using current voting methods as well as the three major alternative systems. This program was a great help in better understanding the relationship between the election method used and election results.  Members are enthusiastic about sharing this program with the public and in seeing alternative election methods adopted at the state and local level...

The League of Women Voters of Washington:
  • Supports state election laws allowing for more options for alternative election systems in governmental jurisdictions at both the state and local levels.
  • Believes that consideration should be given, when evaluating election systems, to how well they promote "representative-ness", citizen participation and accountability.
  • Supports adoption of election methods that produce proportional representation when electing representative government bodies such as councils, legislatures and Congress.
  • Supports the concept of a majority vote requirement for winners of single offices such as mayor or governor, as long as it is achieved using a voting method such as the Instant Runoff Vote, rather than a second, separate runoff election.