Voting reforms trail in Seattle, but it's too close to call
Driving the news: Voters were asked to choose between two types of reforms: ranked choice voting, which lets voters choose candidates in order of preference, or approval voting, which lets voters select as many candidates as they like.
Details: For either change to be adopted, at least 50% of people would need to vote yes on an initial question asking if the city should adopt either reform.
- But a slim majority of ballots counted in early returns favored rejecting both proposals, with about 51% favoring keeping the city's elections the same.
- More ballots remain to be counted, meaning the results could change later this week.
Why it matters: Backers of both reforms expressed some shared goals, including making political campaigns less divisive and ensuring that elected leaders have a wide base of support.
- But they disagreed about whether approval voting, which is only used in two U.S. cities, would accomplish that — and whether the less-tested voting system could prompt legal challenges.
Catch up quick: Either reform, if adopted, would be used only in primary elections for city attorney, city council and the mayor's office.
By the numbers: Those who wanted to change the city's election system overwhelmingly favored ranked choice voting over approval voting in the earliest round of ballot counting, according to King County Elections.
- About 74% favored the switch to ranked choice voting, Proposition 1B, the elections agency reported.
- The measure to enact approval voting in city primary elections, Proposition 1A, sat at about 26% support as of Tuesday night.
What's next: More ballots will be counted in the coming days, clarifying the results.
- If approval voting is adopted, officials would have to implement it no later than 2025.
- Ranked choice voting, if adopted, would need to be implemented by 2027.
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