RCV: System results in more candidates

By Susan Eidenschink
Published October 18th 2009 in The News Tribune
I respect Secretary of State Sam Reed’s opinions and suggestions most of the time. Reed has a lot of integrity and concern for the people of Washington state. However, I disagree with his opinion concerning ranked-choice voting (Inside Opinion blog, 10-12).

One of the reasons Reed gives for not supporting RCV is he believes there are already too many candidates in Pierce County. Before the first RCV election in 2008, there were rarely more than two candidates per position; often there was only one candidate per position. I believe the top-two primary doesn’t give us enough choices.

In the 2008 election in Pierce County, there were more than two candidates for most offices: more participation, more debate, more ideas. With RCV, there is more chance of voting for a candidate you like because there are more candidates. These are good things.

I didn’t hear much negative campaigning during that election. Each candidate wanted to be considered as a possible second choice for people who would not choose them for their first choice, so they didn’t want to make enemies. The only negative campaigning I saw was in top-two races, such as for governor and the state Legislature.

For all these reasons, plus the League of Women Voters’ opposition, I’m voting to reject Pierce County Amendment No. 1.

IRV Soars in Twin Cities, FairVote Corrects the Pundits on Meaning of Election Night '09
Election Day '09 was a roller-coaster for election reformers.  Instant runoff voting had a great night in Minnesota, where St. Paul voters chose to implement IRV for its city elections, and Minneapolis voters used IRV for the first time—with local media touting it as a big success. As the Star-Tribune noted in endorsing IRV for St. Paul, Tuesday’s elections give the Twin Cities a chance to show the whole state of Minnesota the benefits of adopting IRV. There were disappointments in Lowell and Pierce County too, but high-profile multi-candidate races in New Jersey and New York keep policymakers focused on ways to reform elections;  the Baltimore Sun and Miami Herald were among many newspapers publishing commentary from FairVote board member and former presidential candidate John Anderson on how IRV can mitigate the problems of plurality elections.

And as pundits try to make hay out of the national implications of Tuesday’s gubernatorial elections, Rob Richie in the Huffington Post concludes that the gubernatorial elections have little bearing on federal elections.