WA Caucus Resolution

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    Sounds like many of you share my frustration, judging from comments today in “Let’s hear it for…” It’s so frustrating at every caucus to be forced to choose a candidate who is not the candidate I want to choose; instead, I have to choose which candidate of the remaining field is most likely to beat the opposing party’s candidate. Essentially, either I am prevented from voting my true choice, or I risk not having my voter preference count.

    This is not true democracy. So let’s do something about it!

    I’m introducing a resolution at my precinct caucus to support instant runoff voting (sometimes known as ranked choice voting). Under this system, I can rank all my preferences, and if my first choice is defeated, my vote can go to my next choice—and so on, until only two candidates are left. My choice between those two candidates will count, even if neither was my first choice.

    Pierce County will be using this system for county and local elections starting this year. King County’s charter is being reviewed this year; with enough support, King County could also use this system for county and local elections. Resolutions introduced at the precinct level will be considered at the County Convention; I figure it’s worth a try to get an IRV resolution introduced at as many precinct caucuses as I can.

    If you’re interested in introducing such a resolution at your precinct caucus, please feel free to copy the one I’ve posted at:


    Scroll down: the resolution for Washington State is below that for Minnesota.

    If you log in, you can even edit the resolution (I’m sure it could use improvement!) Please share it with anyone you think might be interested! This version is geared for Democrats, but there’s no reason Republicans couldn’t suitably adjust it and introduce it at Republican caucuses. (One prominent Republican IRV supporter: McCain.)

    If you’re unfamiliar with IRV/RCV, you’ll find quite a lot of discussion on the web. Much of it generates more heat than light; voting systems discussion tends to bring out passionate supporters of alternatives. One place you can go for more information on IRV, amongst other election reforms, is http://www.fairvote.org.

    The Democratic Party traditionalists (Hi, Ivan!) are skeptical about IRV. Many of them downright hate it; they’re concerned it will erode the power of the party. I have at least two answers to this: 1. Many powerful Democrats do see the need for it; (Chairman of the Democratic National Committee) Howard Dean, and Barack Obama all support IRV, and, 2. the parties still retain control over who runs with the party label–and how many can run with that label. The parties can still caucus to select those candidates. Democrats aren’t using the Washington primary, anyway–so they can hardly claim it’s needed. Furthermore, if the power of the party isn’t serving democracy well, it deserves eroding.

    I don’t think IRV alone will fix our broken election system; we also need to change the way we conduct and finance campaigns, and we need proportional representation. We need a press that actually educates voters. But IRV is one helpful step, and it addresses my repeated frustration with not getting to vote for MY candidate, election after election.



    Sorry, I’ll try to figure out my error with the links…



    I don’t have a problem with IRV for local and maybe state elections.

    But until the constitution is changed to include a parliamentary system (invented after our constitution was ratified) I don’t think it would work out for congressional, or executive races. And we dare not allow a constitutional convention or anything like it as long a PR firms can manipulate large chunks of the electorate.

    No matter what I think, the way to go about it is to concentrate on local and county positions first, then state level.

    This is one of those projects which will have to ease into the collective political will over several years since it is easy to dismiss as radical by those who are unfamiliar with the theory.

    It does change the status quo, so expect a fight.

    But eventually, if we are successful getting corporate money out of elections, IRV will probably contribute to bringing more people back into the system.



    is it possible to introduce resolutions at the precinct caucuses? How would that work?



    Ken, you’re right; we have to start with local & county. I suspect that once enough voters in enough counties have experienced it, there will then be a push for state.

    You’ll notice my resolution is backing IRV for state and local elections, for that reason.

    And yes, I’m sure it will be a fight. Changing the status quo takes a long time and a lot of persistence. But we have to start somewhere, and I think the caucuses are one place to start.

    acemotel, in the past, resolutions have been voted on at precinct caucuses. Those with enough support were forwarded to the next level. This year, I gather, there will not be time to debate resolutions at the precinct level, so all resolutions will be forwarded to the county convention for debate. But I’d like to get this introduced in as many precincts as possible; get it on more people’s radar, and it will likely be taken more seriously at the next level.



    I meant to add:

    So by all means, if you think something needs to be added to the platform, bring a resolution forward. I suggest working out the wording ahead of time and bringing copies for people to look at. Why not post it here, too? If people like it, they can bring it to their own caucuses (that’s why I’ve posted a link to mine here.

    This is supposed to be a democracy. We need everyone’s voices and ideas.



    Also note, one way to get to the county convention to advocate your proposal, is to get yourself elected as a delegate at the precinct level and again at the district.

    So get to work :)



    Thanks, Ken; I’m glad you added that point.

    I also meant to point out that I don’t know about resolutions at the Republican caucus. The rules posted on the KC Republicans website do refer to a discussion of resolutions as one of the agenda items, so I assume one could bring a resolution forward there, too. I have put a start on a Republican version on the MorePerfect site, with the Democratic one, but it needs someone to add endorsements that would appeal more to Republicans.



    I don’t mean to belabor the point, but I haven’t been to a precinct caucus, so a followup question: is there a time during the caucus when resolutions are called for, or does one need to force the issue?



    acemotel, I don’t think you should hesitate to keep asking questions!

    On the 34th District Democrats page,


    there is a “script for the precinct caucus chair”. (in .doc format). If you read through that, it will give you a better idea of how the caucus goes.

    An excerpt from the script states: “After each group has elected its delegates and alternates, we will fill in some paperwork. People will have an opportunity to introduce resolutions which will be forwarded to the County Convention.

    We will not debate and we will not vote on these resolutions today.

    We will then adjourn.”



    repost of text from a post the edit button ate.

    This is a little confusing to me as well so bear with me.

    In the past, the process was time consuming and sometimes acrimonious due to the loose conversational style of proposals some submitted and those who deal with precise or legal language trying to amend them into usable shape right in the precinct caucus.

    Further adding to the confusion, were submittals of hundreds of proposals/resolutions that varied only slightly from each other. The district caucus ended up handing out colored stick on dots (I forget the number but it was more than ten) to each credentialed delegate, and posting each proposal all the way around the gym at West Seattle High. Each delegate then walked around the gym and put a “dot” on each proposal they agreed with.

    While this might be democratic, it ain’t efficient and many people left the meeting in search of food before it was complete.

    This year proposals will be accepted at the precinct caucus with no discussion. The will be returned to the area caucus coordinator who will forward them to the county chair to be condensed and codified by a committee into legal, precise, and hopefully coherent proposals.

    Example proposals are not that easy to find but

    here is one google located that shows the original language with strike throughs for deleted and amended language.

    If you want to use a basic format from the past (English common law I believe)

    Stating the reasons for the proposal/resolution in a series of sentences beginning with the word “Whereas” and then summarize the proposal/ resolution with a sentence or two that start with “Be it Resolved” of something similar.




    Ken, (looks like you had the same trouble with the “a” tag I did… I guess the syntax here is a little different–but it does list “a” under allowed markup. So I’m puzzled.)

    Interesting link!

    I welcome anyone from this unfortunate, courageous, and much appreciated committee you mention to go ahead and fix what needs fixing in my resolution at their leisure, to save time later. I purposely posted it on the MorePerfect wiki to give people the opportunity to go ahead and improve it. Not many have, and I’m very sure it could use improving.

    It will be interesting to see how this new method of handling resolutions works. It does seem it might be more efficient.

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