Supporting FairVote Washington

The Green Party of Washington (GPWA) reaffirmed ongoing support of FairVote Washington when our Coordinating Council unanimously agreed at our August meeting to make a financial donation.

Many Greens are active in FairVote in their local areas. GPWA Coordinating Council member, Stonewall Bird of Bellingham, is one of the FairVote Whatcom County chapter leads. He, Jody Grage of Seattle, and Charles Law of the Olympic Peninsula attended FairVote WA’s recent Legislative Town Hall Workshop, which focused on Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). 

Charles Law also led the appeal to the GPWA to fund FairVote. “I believe there’s something we may have overlooked when it comes to RCV,” said Law to the Coordinating Council, “And that’s the negative campaign strategy used by many candidates at present. RCV takes the negativity out of campaigning because candidates need the widest appeal to get a higher rank among the ballot choices. In contrast, our current voting method of first-past-the-post encourages a dualistic attitude that pits people against each other, causing disharmony and bitterness when the winner takes all. However, when there are multiple choices in an election, candidates will seek more common ground with a voter’s first choice. This cooperation decreases our voter alienation from one another. A holistic worldview is the basis behind the Green Party Platform. Greens advocate for removing the wrongness in the world through Democracy, Social Justice, Ecology, and Peace.” Law encouraged the GPWA to donate, believing it is money well spent.

“We’re a small party but we’re consistent,” said east King County Green, C.J. Sellers, who has been pushing for Ranked Choice Voting since 2000, back when it was still being called ‘Instant Runoff Voting.’ “Voter rights and election process reforms have always been high priority in the Green Party, which makes sense if you read our platform. Without the viability of voters electing candidates who represent their opposing standpoint, you end up with a situation like what drove me out of the Democratic Party in 2006: both parties for war and hardly a voice in the house or senate challenging their bipartisan agenda of neverending warfare i.e. the War on Terror. Or, the majority of citizens wanting universal healthcare at the national level and both major parties saying it’s off the table. We also have a crisis of representation in the mainstream media because they seldom report much of what the two major parties aren’t willing to sanction or even debate, except to demean alternatives. This country needs to hear more diverse viewpoints, and we need the option to more accurately represent ourselves with our vote. These are not partisan propositions, they’re about voter rights, more options, and democratic freedom of representation. Fairvote WA does an excellent job of educating the public about the benefits of Ranked Choice Voting and Proportional Representation, in particular.” 

Sellers attended the recent FairVote WA workshop on Proportional Representation. “Not only will proportional representation give independent and minor party candidates more of a shot at representation in government by removing the fear of the ‘greater evil’ winning if we ‘split the vote,’ it also helps racial and religious minorities gain representation. Proportional Representation is very doable in Washington State. Washington has led the way with many progressive reforms that other states are still a long way from achieving, why can’t we improve voter freedom here? Proportional Representation may not be a sexy issue, but it’s a much-needed progressive reform and works best in combination with RCV. Voters may not know it yet, but we needed these reforms ages ago.”

Authors: C.J. Sellers & Charles Law

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