This Charter Amendment adds new language to the existing city charter
ARTICLE XVIII: ELECTIONS, Section 1. ELECTIONS; GENERAL AND SPECIAL:
Subdivision B. PREFERENCE VOTING:
First. DEFINITION, PRINCIPLE, AND APPLICABILITY:
(a) DEFINITION: “Preference Voting” shall be defined as that voting
system which achieves proportional representation by allowing voters to
rank candidates for a given office in the order of their preference, according
to the method described in Article XVIII, Section 1, subdivision B, Third;
and by tabulating votes according to the rules described in Article XVIII,
Section 1, subdivision B, Fifth.
(b) PRINCIPLE: Preference Voting tabulates votes based on the principle
that any vote cast which would not otherwise help elect a voter’s most
preferred candidate(s), shall be used to help elect that voter’s next-most
preferred candidate(s). Thus, if a voter’s first choice among the candidates
receives more than enough votes to win, the surplus proportion of that
vote will be transferred to that voter’s second or succeeding (next-highest
ranking) choice. Alternatively, if a voter’s first choice candidate is
eliminated, that vote instead will be cast for the voter’s second or succeeding
(next-highest ranking) choice.
(c) APPLICABILITY: Preference voting shall apply to all elections for
Mayor, City Attorney, and City Council, both primary and general, commencing
with the September, 1997 primary election, and all municipal elections
Second. CONCURRENT ELECTIONS FOR CITY COUNCIL: The four (4) city
council members to be elected in 1997 shall serve two-year terms. Commencing
in 1999, and every four (4) years thereafter, all nine City Council members
shall be elected concurrently to serve four-year terms.
Third. PRIMARY AND GENERAL ELECTIONS, RANKING OF CANDIDATES:
(a) CITY COUNCIL: Primary elections for the City Council shall be used
to select eighteen (18) candidates for the following general election,
and voters shall be allowed to express preferences for up to nine (9) candidates
on the primary ballot. The only exception shall be the September, 1997
primary election, in which eight (8) continuing candidates shall be selected.
In City Council general elections, voters shall be allowed to express up
to nine (9) preferences.
(b) MAYOR AND CITY ATTORNEY: Primary elections for Mayor and City Attorney
shall be used to select three (3) candidates for each office, and voters
shall be allowed to express up to five (5) preferences for each office.
In Mayor and City Attorney general elections, voters shall be allowed to
express up to two (2) preferences.
(c) No primary election is necessary if the number of declared candidates
is equal to or lower than the number of continuing candidates specified
for that office.
Fourth. BALLOT SPECIFICATIONS AND DIRECTIONS TO VOTERS: Ballots
shall be simple and easy to understand. Sample ballots illustrating voting
procedures shall be posted in or near the voting booth, and included in
the instruction packet of absentee ballots. Directions provided to voters
shall conform substantially to the following specifications:
(a) For Primary elections:
DIRECTIONS TO VOTERS
CITY COUNCIL: Vote for up to 9 council candidates in your order
of preference. Indicate your first choice by marking an “X” in column 1
next to that candidate’s name, your second choice by marking an “X” in
column 2, and so on. Do not assign any two candidates the same preference.
(b) For general elections, the directions shall be the same, except that
the “Mayor and City Attorney” instructions shall be amended to read:
MAYOR AND CITY ATTORNEY: Indicate your first choice by marking an “X”
in column 1 next to that candidate’s name, your second choice by marking
an “X” in column 2, and so on. You may express as many choices as you wish
up to five. Do not assign any two candidates the same preference.
MAYOR AND CITY ATTORNEY: Indicate your first choice by marking
an “X” in column 1 next to that candidate’s name, your second choice by
marking an “X” in column 2. Do not assign any two candidates the same preference.
If you wish, choose only one candidate.
Fifth. TABULATION OF VOTES: In accordance with the principle expressed
in Article XVIII, Section 1, Subdivision B, First, Principle, ballots shall
be counted by election authorities according to the following rules:
(a) DETERMINATION OF THRESHOLDS: For any given election, the number
of votes necessary for a candidate to guarantee an elected position, or,
in the case of primaries, to guarantee a place on the general ballot, shall
be termed the “threshold”. The threshold is used to determine transferrable
surpluses as defined in (b)(1) below.
For general elections the threshold shall be determined by dividing
the number of valid ballots for that office by the number of positions
to be filled. For primary elections the threshold shall be determined by
dividing the number of valid ballots for that office by the number of candidates
whose names will appear on the general election ballot, as specified in
Article XVIII, Section 1, Subdivision B, Third.
(b) RULES REGARDING TRANSFER OF VOTES: The following rules regarding
vote transfer shall apply to all stages of the tabulation:
(1) Votes acquired by a candidate in excess of the threshold
for that election shall be termed his or her “surplus”. A candidate’s surplus
votes stall be transferred according to the following rule: transfer a
portion of each vote determined by dividing the surplus of the candidate
by the total number of votes for that candidate. For example, if a candidate
receives 15,000 votes in an election whose threshold is 10,000, one-third
(.3333) of a vote from each of those 15,000 ballots is transferred to those
voters’ next choices. Votes cast for candidates who are eliminated (as
described in (c)(3) below) shall be transferred in their entirety to those
voters’ next preference(s).
(2) Votes may not be transferred to candidates who have already
met the threshold, nor may votes be transferred to candidates who have
been eliminated. When a voter’s next preference is not eligible for receipt
of transferred votes, that vote (or portion of a vote) shall be transferred
to the voter’s next indicated preference until all preferences on that
ballot have been exhausted.
(3) If a voter omits or mistakenly designates any preference
on his or her ballot, the vote shall be transferred to that voter’s next
clearly indicated preference.
(4) Any votes cast for eligible write-in candidates shall be
tabulated in the same manner as those for candidates whose names are printed
on the ballots; provided that the voter assigns any such candidate a preference
in relation to other candidates appearing on the ballot for that office.
(c) STAGES IN THE TABULATION:
(1) Vote counting shall start with a tabulation of first-choice
votes and with the transfer of a proportion of all surplus votes according
to the rules specified in (b) above. Transfer of surpluses shall commence
with the candidate having the largest surplus and proceed successively
to the candidates with the next largest surplus.
(d) DETERMINATIONS IN THE CASE OF A TIE: For ties between candidates occurring
at any stage in the tabulation, determinations shall be made based on whomever
was credited with the most votes at the previous stage of tabulation. In
the case of any tie to which a previous stage does not apply, the tie shall
be resolved in accordance with the general election laws of Washington.
(2) If the transfer of surplus votes to voters’ next-choice candidates
creates a new surplus, then a proportion of these votes shall be transferred
to those voters’ succeeding choices, until all surpluses have been transferred
or all declared preferences on a ballot have been exhausted.
(3) When all surplus votes have been distributed in this manner, a tally
shall be taken and the candidate with the least number of votes shall be
eliminated. Votes for this candidate shall be transferred in their entirety
to the candidates named as succeeding choices on the eliminated candidate’s
ballots. Any surpluses created by the transfer shall once again be transferred,
a new tally taken, and the candidate with the least number of votes eliminated.
This process shall continue until the number of candidates remaining matches
the number of positions to be filled (general elections), or candidates
to appear on the general election ballot (primary elections). Votes of
the candidate last eliminated shall be transferred and the election shall
be at an end.
(e) FILLING A CITY COUNCIL VACANCY: Any vacancy of an elected City Council
member shall be filled by recounting the ballots from the general election
which elected that member, in the manner specified herein for general elections,
except that the vacating member’s name shall be deleted from all ballots.
The candidate accruing the most votes in the recount that was not elected
to office in the original count shall fill the vacancy. For the purpose
of filling City Council vacancies, all general election ballots shall be
retained by election authorities for at least four years.
Sixth. PROVISION FOR CHANGE OF VOTING METHOD: The Council or
election authorities may provide for the use of mechanical, electronic
or other devices for marking, sorting and counting the ballots and tabulating
the results, and may modify the form of the ballots, the directions to
voters, and the details with respect to the method of marking, sorting,
counting, invalidating, and retaining of ballots, and the tabulating and
transferring of votes, provided that no change shall be made which will
alter the intent or principles embodied in this Subsection.
Seventh. SEVERABILITY CLAUSE: If any part of this Subsection
is declared unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, the
remaining parts shall survive in full force and effect. If a conflict arises
between this amendment and any other provision of law, the policies and
purposes of this amendment shall govern.
ARTICLE XX, CHARTER AMENDMENTS
Section 3. CONFLICTING CHARTER AMENDMENTS: If two or more charter
amendments are passed in the same election which in their execution would
substantially hinder each other, both amendments shall be placed on the
next municipal election ballot, and the voters shall choose between them.
The amendment with the highest vote count shall be adopted.