Opinion – Changing Pierce County races in odd years

[Editor: These are the comments former council candidate Ann Dasch made to the council regarding Pierce County Ordinance 2013-42 to change the county elections to odd years instead of even. The hearing will be July 30 at 3 p.m., comments can be submitted in writing before that time to pccouncil@co.pierce.wa.us]

By Ann Dasch

The problem of “extra long ballots” . . . might not BE a problem for Pierce County if the Council would stop proposing unnecessary Charter Amendments.

I am against Council member Richardson’s proposal for many reasons:

1. It costs about a quarter million dollars EXTRA per year.

Secondly, when Dick Muri got a similar amendment on the 2009 ballot, over two-thirds of voters REJECTED it. We, the people, said “No” already.

Thirdly, over 281,000 people voted in the “way down-ticket” Assessor-Treasurer race last November. That’s 37% more than voted in the ENTIRE 2011 general election. You’ll spend more money to get less citizen input.

Research shows that “low turnout produces a proincumbent bias.”* This proposal diminishes the power of the people to elect first-time candidates to county offices. Without seasoned, up-ticket legislators mentoring me in 2012, I’d have reached FAR fewer voters, donors, and volunteers.

Lastly, this Amendment directly and financially benefits the seven of you. If you win re-election or another of these county offices in the next few years you would get an extra year with a six-figure salary as a result of a yes vote today. That may be LEGAL, but it does NOT pass “the sniff test.”

If I’d gotten a couple thousand more votes last year, I’d be at that table proposing a five-year moratorium on non-emergency Charter Amendments. That would help keep ballots to one page, “do no harm” to our Charter and our democratic process, and cost taxpayers . . . nothing.

Please vote no on Proposal No. 2013-42.

= = = = = =

http://faculty2.ucmerced.edu/thansford/Articles/Estimating%20the%20Electoral%20Effects%20of%20Voter%20Turnout.pdf

*”Estimating the Electoral Effects of Voter Turnout” (2010)

“Consequently, when the electorate expands with these voters, the incumbent party is fighting an uphill battle. Compared to their more participatory counterparts, infrequent voters bring both change and noise when they go to the polls. High turnout elections portend partisan change, anti-incumbency tendencies, and generally less predictable consequences.”

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Richard Thurston says:

    Sour grapes from a sore loser.

    1. It’s too easy to characterize it that way Richard, however there is much more depth to this issue and it is all worth pointing out. Granted, it would look much better if it was not coming from the most recent opponent of the one who suggested the ordinance.

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