Clark County Election Reform Task Force Meeting

We arrived late, but Misty and I attended the 2/10/2005 Election Reform Task Force Meeting down here in Clark County. While I didn't get up to speak because everyone else was doing such a good job, I did get to see what everyone else was doing. (If anyone else was there reading this, I was apparently the only on present with a blaze orange collared shirt.)

There were a lot of orange shirts there. Around 150 concerned citizens, many of whom were wearing orange bandannas, armbands, or clothing, got up to testify about how disillusioned they were with voting in the state of Washington. There was also a noticeable amount of press, scribbling quickly in their notebooks.

It was a peaceful assembly. Many opinions were brought out. Not everyone was for a revote, but many were. A contingent from the Green Party talked about Instant Preference Balloting and were heard politely. A few people involved in working with the election had suggestions, too.

Military ballots and the revote and the troubles in King County were all aired multiple times. Solutions were offered, many reminding me of the list of suggestions from the Evergreen Freedom Foundation.

One gal wondered aloud if we would be there if the results of the election had been different. I have to say that if the election was broken but had gone my way I probably wouldn't have been as passionate about being there, but I dislike broken election systems. I have a long history of that.

Don Carlson brought up the issue of accurately counting the votes of those in assisted living, which made Misty happy. Other representatives were there as well, like Rep. Curtis.

One response I heard, more than once, is that if a revote were to occur with the current broken system similar results could be expected. I have to agree with that. Secretary of State Sam Reed said that the judge in Chelan County admitted that he could not force a revote, but he could vacate the governorship, requiring that it be filled at the next regular election.

Our favorite Sam Reed quote was that it was not time to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. I have to agree. Voter confidence was not very good with the crowd that was there.

All in all, it was a good time. We'll have to see if the other meetings go as well.

Update: Andrew Garber of The Seattle Times was there and has filed a report.

More than 100 people showed up at a Clark College auditorium to vent their frustration to the four-member task force chaired by Reed and former Democratic state Sen. Betti Sheldon. Comments ranged from technical advice to outrage.

Bill Stewart of The Oregonian also reported on the events last night:

Most of the estimated 100 people attending the hearing at Clark College called for a revote, but members of the Green Party asked Reed to endorse an “instant runoff vote” in which candidates are ranked by voters, then the second choices are used if the tally is a tie. A bill has been introduced in the Legislature to allow that system in Vancouver city elections.

I'm pretty sympathetic to instant runoffs elections myself. One person said that they didn't want an Ireland here because of the multiple factions and other problems overseas. I didn't get a chance to point out that those problems come from the parliamentary system, not instant runoff elections.

Update2: Vancouver's The Columbian has an article by Tom Vogt.

Josh Poulson

Posted Thursday, Feb 10 2005 09:16 PM

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There are 3 comments on this entry.

I was there too. You're report is accurate. I was very impressed that Rep. Toby Nixon came down from Olympia with Rep. Curtis. Being that he is from King County, it shows how much he cares about hearing from people not from his district.

I went with 12 specific reforms modified from Hanna's Election Reform website. I was pleased to see 8 of them already mentioned on a survey that they gave to each person. I used my 2 minutes to highlight the four that weren't on the survey, primarily verify citizenship.

Although there wasn't time for rebuttal, I would have answered the person wondering why we want a new election with the same broken system with a simple answer. This time we'll be watching from the beginning.

The hope I took from the meeting was that appeared that SoS Reed was almost visably shaken by the loss of faith in the electoral system. I imagine that reading about what people think didn't convey the passion that people expressed verbally.

north clark county

Posted Thursday, Feb 10 2005 10:11 PM

Hey Ray, great to see you here. Was that you delivering the report to Victoria Taft on her radio show this evening?

I see you also have a report up at Sound Politics. Tell Stefan I appreciate the pointer.

At this point I feel kinda bad that I didn't stand up and voice my own opinion. I have to admit that everyone covered the main points I wanted to. Like you mentioned in your report, though, after that last speaker there was nothing I could add that would have made the same impact.

Josh Poulson

Posted Thursday, Feb 10 2005 11:29 PM

Yes, that was me on Victoria Taft. I was surprised to get through on the first try, especially because I was calling in at the same time as those trying for the gift certificate.

north clark county

Posted Friday, Feb 11 2005 07:56 AM

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