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After looking over the Letters to the Editor in The News Tribune, I know I must spend this column space defending what I hold so dear: ranked choice voting. It would just be such a catastrophe if Pierce County decided to get rid of it.
Why? Well, there are some good reasons why a lot of people don't vote at all. How about apathy for the two-party system, disgust that important issues aren't represented, corporate control of puppet politicians? The list goes on. The thinking goes something like this: “Choice A or choice B, these people are just a bunch of tools and it doesn't matter.”
A good step to try and fix this is called 'campaign finance reform',
getting big money out of politics. For all the talk of 'spreading democracy' in this country, it's interesting that we actually live in a plutocracy. Ew. Who'd want to spread that around? I went to a civil disobedience once where we took flags and didn't burn them, but washed them. Money sure makes things filthy. (Look up more about campaign finance reform at washclean.org).
Another important step is being able to vote for who we want without letting some woo-woo get enough votes to get into office. This is ranked choice. We can vote first for whoever is speaking to our issues, even if they're third party or underfunded. Then we can also vote, second choice, for someone who has the ability to win (aka 'the lesser of two evils'). We don't have to get strategic. And then the eventual winner can see “Golly, a lot of people voted for that candidate out of nowhere who brought up these other issues. I should probably pay attention to that.”
What went wrong here in East Pierce? The voting method is just new. As my stepdad so wisely put it “It's the government, so you think oh no, it's going to be confusing. But I just read over the directions and then it made sense.” So yeah, absentee ballots and ranked choice voting are a nice complement. It takes some time.
Also, we didn't use it well enough. I voted for all these first choices who I thought would win, and didn't bother with second choices because I didn't have to. But if I had voted for second choices in my party preference than it makes super-sure the other party doesn't get office. Oops!
And, what makes rank choice actually fun is having some really great options. I didn't see any Greens running, any Ron Paul types or what have you. We can do that now folks! Let's get on it for next time.
CALENDAR: Native Plant salvages next weekend, Nov. 29 & 30, Food Policy meeting Dec. 3