The Instant Runoff Voting/Ranked Choice Voting in Washington blog points to an article about the King County (my home county) Charter Review Commission which considers improvements to the county’s constitution every ten years, and it is currently considering moving King County to some form of ranked choice voting.

There are a number of interesting things in this article:

  • I didn’t know that the King County constitution got reviewed every ten years; I think that’s pretty cool. I will note that this sort of thing supports John M’s claim that more local governments simply govern better.
  • The article author is woefully uninformed about ‘proportional representation.’ As the commenters note, he fails to differentiate between the result of elections (proportional representation) and the method (ranked choice, which does not even produce proportional representation).
  • I think this bit from the local Democrats was just asinine:

We’re against ‘instant runoff voting,'” Weiss said on behalf of local Democrats. He warned that proportional representation “will blur party lines.”

“It’s meant to cut in on the two-party system. The two-party system has worked pretty well,” Weiss said. “We’ll do everything possible to drive a stake in the heart of instant runoff voting.”

I am glad the King County is considering ranked choice voting, it would certainly be an improvment over first-past-the-post voting, especially for single-seat offices. Establishing local electoral systems where third party and independent candidates can win is an important step in moving towards a country wide political system where the major political parties can actually change over time. Local third party successes will allow third parties to build reputations for being able to win and eventually allow them to seriously contest more important offices.

I will point out that Direct Representation would be a much better approach to proportional representation for multi-seat offices, especially since by-district ranked choice voting does not produce proportional representation.