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Seattle’s approval voting initiative, explained

By July 7, 2022August 5th, 2022News
Axios Seattle by Melissa Santos and Lewis Kamb

For more on the fight to improve our democracy, check out our partner organization, Washington for Equitable Representation.

AXIOS — If approved, Initiative 134 would allow Seattle voters to choose more than one candidate per race in primary elections for city council, mayor and city attorney…

Kamau Chege, director of the WCA, called the approval voting proposal “very dangerous.” Chege’s organization, a network of groups representing people of color, told Axios that an approval voting system would allow “the mostly affluent voters” who participate in the primaries “to dictate to everyone else what the general election choices will be.”

Right now, those wealthier, whiter and more politically engaged primary voters only get to pick one candidate, Chege said. But “under approval voting, they don’t just get that one vote,” he said. “Now, they get to put together the two finalists for everyone else.”

Chege and members of WCA instead support ranked-choice voting, a system in which primary voters can choose multiple candidates, but must rank them in order of preference. Under such a system, voters aren’t actually getting more than one vote, because if their top candidate loses, their vote is transferred to their second choice, Chege said.

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