Yes On Three

Amendment 3

Proposed Pierce County Charter Amendment No. 3 – Instant Runoff Voting

Download the complete Pierce County Official Local Voters' Pamphlet (.pdf)

 

 

Official Ballot Title:
The Pierce County Charter Review Commission has proposed an amendment to the Pierce county Charter implementing instant runoff voting for County elected officials except judges and Prosecuting Attorney. Voters will rank candidates in order of preference at the general election. No primary election will be held. Candidates for partisan office must obtain 25 voter signatures to qualify for the ballot. Major political parties may determine which candidate may use the party label. Shall this Charter Amendment be approved?

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Official Explanatory Statement:
Currently the Pierce County Charter provides that nominating primaries of all partisan officials shall be conducted in accordance with state law. Proposed charter Amendment 3 provides that election of all county officials, except judges and the Prosecuting Attorney, shall be conducted using instant runoff voting. All qualifying candidates would appear directly on the general ballot, eliminating publicly financed primaries for affected county level offices. This proposed Amendment gives voters the option of ranking candidates in order of preference. Instant runoffs would be conducted in rounds. In each round, each voter's ballot shall count as a single vote for whichever continuing candidate the voter has ranked highest. The candidate with the fewest votes after each round shall be eliminated until only two candidates remain. The candidate then receiving the greatest number of votes being elected. The Amendment would require that to qualify for the ballot for partisan office, a candidate shall file with the auditor, no later than the end of filing week, petition statements supporting the candidacy with the original signatures of at least 25 qualified voters. It would also provide that the county central committee of each major party may determine which candidates may use their party label.

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Official Statement For:
Problem: The pick-a-party primary imposed by the courts in 2004.
Solution: Amendment 3, which replaces the pick-a-party primary with a court-tested solution -- instant runoff voting.
Benefits: Amendment 3 restores the choices we had with Washington's traditional blanket primary by allowing voters to rank any candidates regardless of party affiliation. Candidates are elected by instant runoff voting in one high turnout election in November and need a majority of votes to win. A single ranked ballot election eliminates "spoiler" problems and results in shorter campaigns and less money in politics. Candidates will have incentive to focus on issues instead of running attack ads. Overseas military voters won't need to submit separate primary and general election ballots.
Endorsements: Amendment 3 is supported by the League of Women Voters and community leaders and elected officials from major parties, minor parties, independents and the Farm Bureau. Amendment 3 means better democracy. www.yesonthree.com

Committee Members: Jim Walton, Mike Venuto, Kelly Haughton

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Proposal:

Section 1.  Section 4.10 of the Pierce County Charter is hereby amended as follows:

Section 4.10 – Election Procedures

The Elections of all County officials, except judges and the Prosecuting Attorney, shall be conducted using instant runoff voting.  The County Auditor shall implement by July, 2008 an instant runoff voting protocol according to these guidelines:
(1)  The ballot shall give voters the option of ranking candidates in order of preference.
(2)  The instant runoff shall be conducted in rounds.  In each round, each voter's ballot shall count as a single vote for whichever continuing candidate the voter has ranked highest.  The candidate with the fewest votes after each round shall be eliminated until only two candidates remain, with the candidate then receiving the greatest number of votes being elected.
(3)  The County Council may adopt additional regulations consistent with this subsection and RCW 29.A.53 (excluding the expiration dates) to implement these standards.

 
Section 2.  New Section 4.15 is hereby added to the Pierce County Charter as follows:

 
Section 4.15 – Partisan Candidacies

(1)   To be placed on the ballot for partisan office a candidate must present to the auditor no later than the end of filing week petition statements supporting the candidacy with original signatures of no less than 25 persons qualified to vote for the office the candidate is seeking.  The County Council may change the signature number requirement by ordinance so long as the same number applies to all candidates.

(2)   The county central committee of each major political party may determine which candidates may use their party label for each county level office.

(3)   Minor political party and independent candidates shall be nominated according to procedures for minor political party and independent nominating conventions as set forth by state law.

(4)   All candidates meeting the foregoing qualifications will appear directly on the general election ballot. There will be no publicly financed primary for effected county level offices.

 
Section 3.  Section 4.20 of the Pierce County Charter is hereby amended as follows:

 
Section 4.20 -- Independent Candidates

(1) On or before the last day for filing a declaration of candidacy as a candidate anyone qualified to assume office if elected may file a declaration of candidacy as an "Independent."

(2) Any candidate who files a declaration of candidacy as an independent shall be placed on the ballot under the title "Independent."

(3) Anyone who files a declaration of candidacy as an independent shall pay the filing fee required for a declaration of candidacy. 

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