By Editorial Board
Published November 1st 2006 in Peninsula Gateway
How many times have you heard someone say they are "voting for the lesser of two evils?" You can eliminate that cynical view of government by approving Pierce County Proposed Charter Amendment 3 in the Nov. 7 election.
The amendment is more popularly known as Instant Runoff Voting, or IRV, and it gives voters the opportunity for greater choice at a lower cost.
Under IRV, voters rank the candidates in their order of preference. The candidate with a majority of first-choice votes wins the election. If no candidate receives a majority of first-choice votes, the last place candidate is eliminated and their second-place votes are distributed to the remaining candidates. This process repeated until one candidate has a majority.
IRV offers many benefits. The election winner has a clear majority and more legitimacy to govern. The system encourages independent and third party candidates to run, making races more competitive and offering a choice to voters not strongly attached to either of the two main parties. Candidates popular with people, but not favored by a political party, could run as independents, which would entice the main parties to allow such candidates to use the party name.
Best of all, candidates would have a reason to reduce negative campaigning because they will need the second-choice votes from their opponents' supporters.
IRV would replace the unpopular pick-a-party system and avoids the constitutional issues of the blanket primary and the top-two format. It lowers election costs by eliminating the primary elections, which traditionally have a lower turnout. IRV accomplishes what is essentially a race between the two most popular candidates in one election.
Other states and other nations are already using this system and finding that it encourages more moderate candidates and a higher voter turnout.
Vote "yes" on Charter Amendment 3.