Saturday, August 26, 2006

Will the Grange non-partisan initiative turn into IRV?

Could the Democratic majority in the legislature and the Democratic governor get the Grange to put their guns down and craft a deal on elections in Washington? The end result being an Instant Runoff Voting system?

For more information on how IRV works, go here.

Assume two things happen by December:

1. The Democratic Party maintains its lead in both the state House and Senate.

2. The Grange puts together a campaign and files an initiative for a totally non-partisan primary.

I'm not that well informed enough to know if the first is going to happen, but what I haven't heard there is much of a chance of Democrats losing our majorities.

And as for the second, from what the Grange folks have been saying, they're on their way to developing their initiative, either for 2007 or 2008. Seattle Times:
"This is our most viable option, no party designation," said Dan Hammock, spokesman for the Grange


"Now is the time for the voters of this state to unite to take control of elections back from the political parties," state Grange President Terry Hunt said. "The Grange will go forward with the top-two initiative, and follow the court's direction by removing any and all party designations on the ballot."
But, instead of pushing for a Top Two non-partisan qualifying primary, what if the Grange dropped its guns and joined the Democratic Party majority in the legislature to craft an Instant Runoff Vote bill? While it seems the Grange is dead set on resurecting the original 1935 Open Primary, Democratic activists across the state seem to like the idea of IRV.

IRV has the unique position of actually being what the Grange would like (allowing anyone to vote for any candidate) and being a political possibility with at least one of the parties in the state. For example at least two county Democratic parties included IRV in their platforms recently (Whatcom this year and Thurston in 2004).

Also, famous rocker, Granger and Democrat, Krist Novoselic is a big supporter of IRV (his post at Washblog here), and could help make this happen.

In terms of convincing legislators on and IRV system, it is a matter of convincing them that first the Grange's non-partisan primary initiative would actually be filed and win. Given the above quote, the Grange is going to do it. Whether it would win or not, remember I-872 won by over 60 percent and won in every county Washington.

And, two they would need to think that IRV would have to be a system they could live with. Given number one would be true, would they rather live in a world where their political affiliations didn't appear beside their names? I'm not a legislature, I don't really know, but I have an idea.

Sort of a preview of this possibility, an IRV charter amendment is on the ballot in Pierce County this fall. It uses the same type of language that you would assume the next Grange iniative would use "Want Something Different than the Pick A Party Primary?" and "Any Candidate, Any Party."

It also has the support of a diverse and bi-partisan group of Pierce County politicians, including two sitting county council members (on Dem and one R) the Republican auditor candidate, a couple of Democratic PCOs and a Bonney Lake city council member. If Proposition 3 ends up passing, it would say a lot about whether IRV has broad support.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Senate Democrats will gain seats for their majority.