Washington's current Top Two primary system is a horrible dampener of the democratic process.
Yes, it makes it easier to get on the ballot in the primary - anyone
can do it. Signatures are no longer required for anything except the
Anyone who wants to run just needs to bring their filing papers down to the office, and file them.
So, what's the problem?
In a district that is overwhelmingly Democrat, the results of
the primary will always be Democrats only in the general election. The two highest vote getters will usually be two Democrats.
In a district that is overwhelmingly Republican, the results of the
primary will always be Republicans only in the general election. The two highest vote getters will usually be two Republicans.
Which leaves a large percentage of the population with no one to vote for.
In Legislative District 7, for instance, Democrats can just "whistle Dixie", as my Grandmother used to say. Nothing there for them. There are three Republican candidates for the legislature, for two positions. No Ds. No Greens. No Libertarians. No Socialists.
In District 12, same story. All Republicans.
In District 19, same story, different chapter. All Democrats.
Our old "Blanket Primary" had some problems, but we were likely to find a Democrat, a Republican, a Green or a Libertarian on the ballot line.
What would work better? What is more fair?
How about using a system where everyone could vote for the candidate
that they believe to be the best, and also designate the second-best
This system is called Ranked Choice Voting, or RCV. Pierce County is using it this year.
It's simple, easy, and effective. Each of us would vote for up to three candidates in the order we like them.
1. Joe Smith
2. Harry Reid
3. Sylvia Jones
If an overwhelming majority found Harry Reid acceptable as a number two choice, then Harry may win. This plan leaves an overwhelming majority of people semi satisfied.
Rather than 51% (or less - a candidate for Supreme Court won with 28.36% in 1999 - that won't happen with Top Two, though) of the people happy.
Even more than that - this type of election puts an end to the kind of negative campaigning that we have been subject to for the last few years. (I have found this year particularly unpleasant, and changed my vote two days before the election, because of some negative ads.)
Candidates are unlikely to to slam their opponents when they want the supporters of that opponent to vote for them as a second choice.
And the truth is that none of the political parties like the current mess. The only group who does like it is the bureaucrats. Sam Reed says "we haven't gotten any complaints about the new system".
Let's show them that's not true.
eMail WATopTwo@gmail.com (that's us, so that we can carry hard copy to Legislative Committee meetings), Sam Reed (Secretary of State) and Sam Hunt (Government and Tribal Affairs Committee Chair)
Here's a comma delineated eMail list to cut & paste into your eMail editor . . .
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, WATopTwo@gmail.com
Please also feel free to send your letter to any Editor of the Opinion page of a newspaper. The Tacoma Weekly is a friendly one. They have a 450 word limit.