IRV on the Ballot in Pierce County, Washington

A picture of Reiner Tower in Tacoma WashingtonThe Pierce County Charter Review Commission on June 17 approved a measure to add instant runoff voting (IRV) to the ballot for county elections. Appearing on the ballot this November 7th along with a similar measure in Minneapolis (MN), the measure would trigger IRV elections in 2008.

With more than 750,000 people, including the city of Tacoma, Pierce County would join San Francisco as one of the two largest jurisdictions in the nation using IRV. The proposal has a unique twist that would address the problem of low-turnout primaries in states across the nation. Parties would use private means such as conventions or caucuses to nominate one or more candidates for each office, but voters would have a full range of choice among all candidates in one high turnout general election -- avoiding low turnout primaries in August in favor of a spoiler-free, choice-filled majority election in November.

IRV has a history of serious debate in Washington. In 2005, the Washington state legislature passed HB 1447, which empowered various cities to consider a change to IRV.

[ Blog by charter commissioner ]
[ IRV Washington, a pro-IRV group ]
[ News story on the proposed charter changes ]
[ IRV Victories: FairVote’s emerging site designed to boost IRV campaigns ]
[ Testimony to Pierce County Charter Review Commission by FairVote's Caleb Kleppner ]