During the August primary, citizens of Maricopa will have the opportunity to vote for three members of the City Council. There are six candidates, vying for the three seats, including two incumbents. This election is non-partisan, and if a candidate receives at least 50% of the votes cast plus one, he or she is elected. If all three seats are not filled in August, there will be a runoff of the remaining candidates in November. Each voter can vote for up to three candidates.
The way the council election is conducted allows for a reduction of the voting power of some citizens. Specifically, if you find only one candidate qualified to receive your vote, you have two choices. You can simply vote for the one candidate who meets your criteria, which means that you lose two of your votes, or you can vote for two candidates who you do not favor. This latter option can reduce the likelihood of your favored candidate being elected.
Although it is not in current use, there is a voting method that addresses this problem, which has been used in the past in other states and in European democracies. Each voter receives three votes and can use all three for one candidate, or give two to one candidate and the remaining vote to a second, or vote for three candidates If the state would allow this method, it would make for fairer elections as well as influence the election strategies for those seeking elective office.
The Maricopa City Council is not the only election where this new method could be applied. Our legislative district, LD 11, has two seats in the Arizona House of Representatives, thus each voter has two votes. The Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates utilities and sales of securities, has five seats, three to be filled in the November election. Since the pricing and operations of utilities are of great concern to many voters, allowing a voter to give all three votes to one candidate would give concerned citizens a chance to have Commission members who have expressed an understanding of voter concerns.
This new method of voting could provide more power to the electorate. Is it not reasonable for the state legislature to give serious consideration to this change?