Letters to the Editor

Score voting means better democracy for Olympia

As the 2020 election cycle ramps up, any voter with a pulse must acknowledge that all is not well with American democracy. A 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center found that Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines — and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive — than at any point in modern history.

A large but overlooked factor is our choose-one voting system, widely considered to be the worst on Earth. I’m not exaggerating. In a 2010 workshop hosted by the London School of Economics, a group of 22 voting experts found it to be the worst of the 18 voting methods they studied. Not a single expert found it supportable.

Why? A single vote is the least amount of information a voter can possibly provide. And due to fears of vote splitting and the dreaded “spoiler effect," even that small morsel of information is often a lie: a voter who prefers an independent or minor party candidate usually opts for a strategic vote for the “lesser evil” of the two major party players.

The solution is score voting. Voters rate the candidates on a scale from zero to five, allowing them to express excitement, ambivalence, or scorn for any candidates. This elects the most broadly appealing candidates rather than polarizing partisans.

A Washington-based reform group called Counted is running a ballot measure to bring score voting to Olympia. We look forward to your support as we work to perfect our democracy.