| Spokesman.com |

Right now, lawmakers in Olympia are considering a bill that would allow local jurisdictions the option of using ranked-choice voting, a simple improvement to the voting process in which voters rank candidates in their order of preference.

Millions of voters in states like Alaska and Maine and in over 50 cities, including Salt Lake City,

What it does do is give communities the choice to adopt a better voting system — if they want to.

New York, and Minneapolis have opted to use ranked-choice voting. With these bills – the RCV Local Options Bill and RCV for Presidential Primaries, communities in Washington could have the same option.

“Under our current electoral system, it’s not uncommon for certain communities to be routinely ignored and find themselves unable to elect candidates of their choice,” Senators Yasmin Trudeau and T’Wina Nobles, who are sponsoring the RCV Local Options Bill, recently told The News Tribune .

With ranked-choice voting, voters can pick their favorite candidate without worrying about “wasting” a vote on someone who won’t win – and more candidates are encouraged, since they don’t need to fear becoming a spoiler.

“Research from thoroughly-nonpartisan organizations like the Hewlett Foundation, the Campaign Legal Center and New America all support ranked-choice voting. One reason why so many are turning to ranked-choice voting as a solution is that it tends to reward issue-based campaigns rather than the mudslinging dirty politics that many of us are used to seeing on our televisions or timelines.”

With ranked-choice voting, candidates are encouraged to run positive, issue-focused campaigns and reach out to all voters: if they aren’t your first choice, they still want to be a second or third choice.

“Our bill doesn’t mandate anything for any locality that remains skeptical,” said Senators Trudeau and Nobles. “What it does do is give communities the choice to adopt a better voting system — if they want to. The legislature can and should give our communities the tools to build more inclusive elections and the kind of multiracial democracy we all believe in.”

The RCV Local Options Bill would allow cities and towns to adopt ranked-choice voting for their local elections if they so choose. Another bill, the RCV for Presidential Primaries Bill, is new for 2022 and would allow for ranked-choice voting to be used in Washington’s presidential primaries. That bill has bi-partisan support, sponsored by Senator Ann Rivers, a Republican, and Senator Mona Das, a Democrat.

For more information about ranked-choice voting and these bills, visit https://fairvotewa.org/

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