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.


  • FairVote Vancouver: In 1999, reformers backed a sucessful initative on IRV in Vancouver, Washington.

Legislation and Litigation
  • HB 1447 has passed! Establishes a pilot program for IRV use in the election of non-partisan offices in Clark County. Passed the Legislature on April 13th with a 63-34 vote in the House and a 38-9 vote in the Senate; signed by the governor on April 23.
  • Washington state initiative for IRV launched: Instant Runoff Washington has formed to collect signatures in 2004 for action in 2005.