News Jun 15, 2022 at 2:29 pm

The New System Would Allow Voters to Support More Than One Candidate

Voters will be voting on how to vote. Charles Mudede

Comments

1

Glad to read Seattle's voters get a chance to change their voting system to become more inclusive. Maybe by the time that actual vote rolls around, the Stranger will have something more to contribute than the same old tired, blatant, and insulting lie about Seattle's racist voters. Unfortunately, it appears that 'more' is simply more misinformation about Approval Voting:

"No matter what signature-gatherers may have told you (one tried to dupe me outside of the Westlake light rail station), approval voting and ranked-choice voting (RCV) are not the same."

Without a quote from the signature-gatherer in question, we don't know if the person was attempting to fool you. Approval Voting is nothing more or less than a simpler form of RCV, and thus is naturally the one Seattle should try first. (Ease into it, if you will.) Perhaps that is what the signature-gatherer was trying to say?

"Despite the online criticism, Seattle Approves managed to garner just a few hundred more signatures than it needed to get on the November ballot,"

No, King County Elections stopped validating signatures when the total of valid signatures exceeded the required number by 500. (That's why the difference was a very round number.) This suggests the campaign submitted far more signatures than would be required, not just 500 more.

"...and before its July deadline, too."

Before June, even. Most signature-gathering campaigns continue collecting right up until the deadline. Thus, this also suggests Approval Voting received far more signatures than could possibly be necessary. IIRC, the only successful signature-gathering campaign which stopped so far ahead of the deadline was the on the Referendum to repeal the EHT. It appears Approval Voting has a similar level of support as the EHT repeal did.

2

Changing elections for county races to even years is a great idea, I wish we would do the same for city races as well.

Both approval and RCV seem like stupid ideas catering to the indecisive. Deciding who to vote for is never that tough, just make a decision.

3

@2 -- Your comment makes no sense, as neither system allows an additional opportunity to change your mind. Maybe you don't understand what "indecisive" means. Have you actually read about these voting systems? If so, are you still confused as to the advantages? If not, I suggest reading about them on Wikipedia. If you are still confused, then go ahead and ask (I can give you plenty of examples).

4

@3

I have read about them. I just don't see the point. I'm not an indecisive person, I can evaluate the available options and choose the one I think is best.

Even when the decision is close.

The hardest choice was probably the 2008 Democratic Caucus. All of my preferred candidates had withdrawn before my state's caucus. So I was left with Hillary or Barack. It's 2008 so I know Hillary has a more well defined progressive domestic agenda but is more hawkish on foreign policy. Barack was much more conservative on domestic policies than I hoped for, but seemed like a better fit for repairing the damage to our International standing committed by George W. Bush.

I was undecided going into the caucus. What swayed me to vote for Barack was his organization. He had volunteers everywhere, Hillary had none. I knew I lived in a Purple state. I voted for Barack, who carried my purple state.

Looking back on the last few Seattle elections I don't see how either approval or ranked choice would have affected my vote.

In 2017 in the District 6 Primary I voted for Sergio Garcia. I thought he was obviously the best choice, of a surprisingly weak field. I really didn't have a second choice. He lost the primary so I voted for Heidi Wells, a crappy candidate but a better choice than the Mike O'Brien clone of Dan Strauss.

I don't see how ranked choice or approval voting would have changed anything.

In that same year in the Position 8 race I voted for Sara Nelson. I don't remember the other candidates but none of them were options. She lost so I voted for Mosqueda in the general as she painted herself as less extreme than Jon Grant.

Honestly looking back at over 40 years of voting I can't see how RCV or approval would have affected any decisions.

Voting is not hard.

There are multiple candidates for the job. One of them is the better candidate. Vote for them.

5

It's the first time I've heard of approval voting, so I'll have to read up. But at first glance, it sounds like you get to vote for 2 candidates, and the counting goes from there .. and someone in power has the math worked out so they'll benefit from this arrangement, but not necessarily the voters.

I'm a strong advocate of RCV, however. If anything should be implemented, that IMV is definitely the more democratic solution to our plagued system - because people, too often, feel too pressured to vote for candidates they don't really like "just because" a greater evil might win. With RCV, people can vote for the candidate they truly think is the best candidate without feeling like their vote helped give the election to someone far worse. It also takes a lot of that blame game out of the campaigns so you wind up with a more collegial, and more pleasant election season, and one that's hopefully more focused on debating real issues vs vicious and unfounded smears and attacks.

There are some variations to RCV systems, and I like the one that also allows people to just vote for one candidate - or however many they desire to vote for in the ranking system. IOW, you're not obligated to participate in ranking choices and it's no skin off anyone else's nose either if you just pick or 2 or 3 or however many. But you do rank them in order of preference if you vote for any of them.

Really wanting to see RCV in our voting system is another reason for me not to support approval voting (though I will read up more). But in general, I think, if we're going to go through this huge process of changing our election system, I think we should do it right the first time. And I truly think RCV is the right way to go, given the problems we have with this constant "lesser of two evils" argument and voters feeling so blackmailed into picking candidates that are really not their first choice.

So .. when are some people going to get out there and campaign, instead, for RCV to get on the ballot?

6

@5: I don't know what's better about your opening paragraph: your frank admission of ignorance about the topic upon which you comment, your getting the basic facts wrong yet plowing ahead regardless, or your gutless cynicism about how the system will be rigged anyway. I'd have to go with the first, given it's the only one with any novelty value.

"So .. when are some people going to get out there and campaign, instead, for RCV to get on the ballot?"

You'll have to read up:

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2022/03/17/68566092/the-league-of-women-voters-has-higher-standards-than-approval-voting

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2021/06/15/58244912/why-king-county-needs-ranked-choice-voting

https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2021/11/22/63031658/proposed-initiative-would-let-seattle-vote-for-as-many-primary-candidates-as-theyd-like

7

Voting for more than just one candidate for a particular office seems over complicated to me. Why make the counting of the votes harder? Keep it simple.

8

@7: "Why make the counting of the votes harder?"

It makes it more difficult for observers to keep track of the process. That's the basis of three card monte as well.

9

Both ranked choice voting and approval voting greatly increase responsiveness to the will of voters compared to first-past-the-post (the system we use today). Getting either one is a huge step forward. Approval voting has a strength of being extremely simple for voters and for election offices: tally all the votes for each candidate, the highest wins. Any election office that handles first-past-the-post can handle approval voting with minimal change.

Seattle is of a size that I think RCV is a better option in the long term. In the short term, take either option as a massive improvement over the status quo.


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