2 Vote Change Measures Make November Ballot in Seattle | National government and new policies
SEATTLE (AP) — Two vote-changing options will be on the November ballot after the Seattle City Council approved an alternative to a signature-focused effort — and either would change the election process city primary.
At a special meeting Thursday, the council asked voters to consider the priority vote alongside the approval vote, The Seattle Times reported.
Voters currently choose one candidate in a primary election and the top two go to the general election. The move away from the more traditional vote has gained momentum across the country as advocates seek fairer elections.
The approval vote will be on the ballot as Initiative 134 after a successful petition effort. This measure allows voters to vote for multiple candidates without ranking, which means that each selection is weighted equally.
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Passing the approval vote would satiate a new movement to support multiple candidates equally, aimed at reducing negative campaigning and spoiler candidates, but it would mean backing a nearly untested electoral model.
In ranked choice, voters rank candidates by preference. If no candidate receives a majority of the first choice votes, subsequent rankings are considered until a majority is reached.
Councilman Andrew Lewis, who proposed adding ranked-choice voting as an alternative, said it might be unnecessary to pass any changes to the city’s primary election process. But if voters are considering reform, they should have both options and be the “final arbiters” of the decision, he said.
“We just went through a public comment session where twice as many people called in to support ranked choice voting than to support the approval voting alternative,” he said. The council would deprive voters of the final decision if choosing ranked voting was not an option, he said.
The ranked choice is used in dozens of cities and states, including New York, San Francisco, and Oakland, California. Approval voting is only used in a few places, such as St. Louis and Fargo, North Dakota.
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