RANKED CHOICE VOTING = A BETTER YAKIMA
Our county commission does not represent us or our needs. Although we pay taxes, our communities are suffering from great poverty and lack of investment. Why should tax revenue not be invested in our tax paying communities?
It is time to enact a system that provides an equal opportunity for representation and creates a county commission that listens to us and is interested in the wellbeing of our communities.
Under state law, we have the equal right to elect candidates of our choice. Candidates that represent us.
People of color make up over half of the population of Yakima County but the current County Commission does not reflect the full diversity of views and people in the community it serves.
Unfortunately, candidates supported by the Latino and Native communities are rarely elected to any political office. Since the County Commission has been in existence, there has only been one Latino commissioner elected to office in the early 2000’s. The current election system, with a primary by districts and a general election at large, results in an unfair advantage for candidates backed by white voters while creating a disadvantage for candidates backed by Latino and Native voters. This is against state law.
Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) offers a different, more equitable, way to elect our commissioners. One in three county residents will have the opportunity to elect one of the three commissioners. Recently a Latina, Susan Soto Palmer, ran for the county commission seat and was unsuccessful, had we had RCV in place at the time she would be in office representing us right now.
WHAT IS RANKED CHOICE VOTING?
RCV is a simple change to the way we vote. On a ranked-choice ballot, you get to rank the candidates in order of preference. You vote for the candidate you love as your first choice, the candidate you like as your second choice, the candidate you can live with as your third choice, and so on. If your first choice doesn’t have enough popular support to win, then your vote goes to your next choice.
In Yakima county, where there are 3 county commissioners, to win an election a candidate would have to receive at least 25% of the vote. This is how the votes are counted:
With Ranked Choice Voting, 3 out of 4 voters would see a candidate of their choice elected to office. With our current system, 1 out of 2 voters do (? we need to get super accurate numbers here). Ranked Choice Voting makes our voices stronger and our elections more fair. This system creates governing bodies that reflect the diverse views and experiences of the people they represent. Our voice matters!
Here is a short video you can watch to learn more about RCV.
This campaign is led by Yakima County Residents in collaboration with Campaign Legal Center (CLC) , OneAmerica, and More Equitable Democracy.