Tuesday, September 05, 2006

2006 Pick-a-Party Primary - Unnecessary

In the state of Washington, according to the Secretary of State's website, there are 121 seats in the Legislature up for election this year, and there are primary races in only 18 of them. Thirty-seven incumbents are assured of a free ride in both the primary and general elections. So why are we paying for a primary election for two private parties?

Obviously, the taxpayers of Washington are paying for an election of dubious value. Is there a better way? Yes.

In Pierce County, Charter Amendment #3 would replace the pick-a-party primary with Instant Runoff Voting for certain county level offices. This would mean folding the primary into the general election, thus saving the cost of the primary. All candidates would go to the general election and voters would be allowed to choose any candidate, any party.

IRV would be as close to the old blanket primary as we can accomplish and still meet the legal hurdles set forth by the courts. The general election ballot would have all of the candidates regardless of party. It would ask voters to express their first, second and third choices of candidates. This would allow for an instant runoff in the event that no candidate received a majority of the first choice votes. For more information, see www.yesonthree.com.

The state should consider such a system for the election of state level officials as well. The voters of the state of Washington hate the pick-a-party primary. Voters who have used IRV like it. Let's do the voter friendly thing and shift the elections of the state of Washington to IRV.


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