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Pierce County Ranked Choice Voting Amendment, 2009

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A Pierce County Ranked Choice Voting Amendment was on the November 3 ballot in Pierce County for county voters.

The measure was approved.[1]

  • YES 117,835 (70.65%)Approveda
  • NO 48,942 (29.35%)

The amendment will eliminate ranked choice voting and restoring the primary and general election system that is used in the majority of states in the United States.[2]

Proponents say that the system should not be so easily dismissed, it uses more information than ordinary ballots and asks more from voters, but it seems the system is better able to distinguish who the voters want elected. This is the only county in the pacific northwest that uses the system. San Fransisco also uses this type of voting system, but that is one of the few cities in the US that does.[3]

Court case

In August 2009, a lawsuit was filed regarding a ballot language challenge. The suit was filed by Sherry Bockwinkel, a term-limit supporter, and Kelly Haughton, a ranked choice voting supporter, in Pierce County Superior Court. Specifically, Haugton and Bockwinkel argue that the use of the words “approve” or “reject" is a departure from the more commonly used "yes" or "no" options and may cause confusion.[2]

As of September 1, 2009 a Pierce County Judge Ronald Culpepper dismissed the challenge to the ballot language describing proposed amendments to the Pierce County charter. According to Culpepper, Bockwinkel and Haughton failed to meet a deadline, a 10-day time frame, for challenging the ballot language. Both Bockwinkel said, Tuesday, that they are unlikely to appeal the judge's ruling but Haughton added that the judge's ruling was "bad public policy and that Culpepper used "procedural methods to protect a prejudicial ballot title."[4]

Media editorial positions

Editorial boards opposed

  • The Seattle Times is opposed. They said,"The new and promising system of ranked-choice voting deserves a longer test. The charter amendment repeals this new form of voting without giving it a real chance to prove itself. The measure should be rejected."[5]

See also

Additional reading