Tacoma, WA -- At least 10% of primary ballots returned so far have been invalid according to random samples taken by election offices around the state. Representatives from Pierce County's Citizens for a Better Ballot, including Charter Review Commissioners, professors and members of the Tacoma-Pierce County League of Women Voters, are available to speak about how Charter Amendment Three would solve this crisis of voter confusion and frustration.
"Voters are not picking a party before choosing candidates," said Richard Anderson-Connolly, a professor at the University of Puget Sound. "For some voters, this is simply a habit left over from voting in Washington's traditional blanket primary; for others, it is a way to demonstrate their frustration that the courts and the political parties are forcing them to declare, in effect, a party allegiance that they do not feel."
Proposed Charter Amendment Three on the Pierce County ballot in November, would replace the pick-a-party primary with Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) for county offices. "Amendment Three would allow voters to rank candidates regardless of party," said Kelly Haughton, a member of the Charter Review Commission. "IRV makes perfect sense to voters used to the old blanket primary system."
There is more evidence that IRV is a voter-friendly system. According to testimony to the Pierce County Charter Review Commission from Caleb Kleppner of Election Solutions, 99.3% of voters cast valid ballots in San Francisco's first IRV election in 2004 despite the fact that many voters were not aware of the new system before the election. Burlington, VT voters had similar success with their first use of IRV for the 2006 mayoral election. While some opponents of IRV claim that it is too confusing for voters, in reality the rate of invalid ballots in the pick-a-party primary is at least 14 times higher than the rate for an IRV election.
Citizens for a Better Ballot - 1119 Pacific Ave. #1103, Tacoma, WA 98402 - www.yesonthree.com
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