The Vancouver Columbian notes with approval the passage of Amendment 3 and calls for the Vancouver City Council to approve IRV for city elections. IRV is gaining approval from newspapers across the state. The Tacoma News Tribune, the Seattle Times, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Peninsula Gateway and the Seattle Weekly have all written on IRV over the last couple of months.
The Seattle Times has congratulated the voters of Pierce County for passing Charter Amendment 3 and voting to implement Instant Runoff Voting in place of the despised pick-a-party primary for county level officials. The editorial goes on to suggest the King County Charter Review Commission should put a similar measure on the ballot for consideration by King County voters.
The Times notes that Instant Runoff Voting would be a big improvement in how we elect our statewide officials as well as our state legislators. The state legislature should look for ways to help this reform come to full flower.
During the Yes on 3 campaign in Pierce County, a frequent comment was that Amendment 3 did not cover many offices and did not fully leverage the investment that Pierce County would have to make in IRV. In recognition of this idea, the Pierce County Charter Review Commission recommended to the County Council that if Amendment 3 passed, they should lobby the state legislature to allow the county to use IRV to elect the Prosecuting Attorney and judges using the same technology. The costs of voter education and software can be spread over more races, while the cost savings from eliminating a primary grow. This legislation should be a priority for Pierce County legislators.
The second logical leveraging of the Pierce County investment would be to allow local jurisdictions such as cities, school districts and park districts to elect their councils, boards and commissions using IRV with no primary. Once again, the expenses of voter education and software would not increase, but the savings from eliminating primaries grow.
With the passage of these two pieces of legislation, Amendment 3 can move to saving Pierce County money on a regular basis. A better election system with long term cost savings. A win for the voters, a win for the county taxpayers.
Due to the Minnesota’s gubernatorial election being won by a minority of the vote while an IRV measure was passing in the city of Minneapolis, the media and the people are talking about having IRV for the entire state. NPR did a segment on IRV this week. One Minneapolis City Councilmember says she likes IRV because it deepens democracy.
King County will be reviewing its charter this coming year. Already some voters in King County are saying “Why can’t we get rid of the pick-a-party primary like Pierce County did?” Voters in King County will need to get out and testify in favor of replacing the pick-a-party primary with Instant Runoff Voting (IRV).
The Seattle Weekly writes about the likely impact of Amendment 3 in Pierce County on the King County Charter Review Commission. Some King County officials are not quite certain they like IRV yet, but we all hope that as they study the benefits of IRV for our democracy, they will move towards supporting it.
When I saw the word “merger” in the title of Lori Sturdevant’s Nov. 12 column, I couldn’t believe she was writing of the center-left merger I had been dreaming about. I was wrong, of course; Sturdevant was talking about a possible DFL-I or DFL-Green merger to resolve the “spoiler” problem in statewide elections.
I would argue that the passage of instant runoff voting (IRV) statewide (as Minneapolis has just done for city elections) would have the same result as her dream of a merger and would preserve the long history of third parties in Minnesota.
Why should we compromise our principles to merge with the PAC-influenced DFL?
IAN STADE, MINNEAPOLIS
In November 2006, there were IRV measures on the ballot in four jurisdictions: Pierce County, WA; Minneapolis; Oakland and Davis, CA. All four of the measures passed. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has gone on to advocate IRV be adopted statewide. The gubernatorial election in Minnesota elected another governor with less than a majority of the votes. This is the third election in a row and voters are tired of this type of result.