Grange News


The election for the Grays River Habitat Enhancement District is proceeding for April 27. There are three seats on the district’s board with a contested election for every position. Last week I wrote how the election used a weighted ballot system. Another unique feature is that entities which are landowners / taxpayers in the district can vote.

Here are some important details about eligible voting properties that are organized into trusts. A trust needs to designate an individual who will vote on the trust’s behalf. The members of the trust need to sign a document stating who the voter will be. The voter can bring this document to the poll, or mail it in with their absentee ballot form. (An absentee voter form can be downloaded from the Grays River Grange #124 website.) Wahkiakum County Auditor Diane Tischer is happy to answer any questions 360-795-3219 – Westend 465-2654.

Here's another distinctive feature of this system; voters will not get specific ballots for their share of votes. This could violate the secret ballot. Instead, voters get as many ballots as they do votes. For example – if a landowner gets 10 votes, they have to mark ten ballots. That’s why there’s poll voting, to accommodate all of the ballots.

Many people are interested in the rules for the election and how ballots are weighted depending on land the taxpayer owns in the district. We have a history of weighted ballots in public elections the United States - dating back to the post-civil war era. There’s a version of weighted ballots known as Cumulative Voting. This is not necessarily a property-based system. All eligible voters can participate. Just as with a simple plurality election, a cumulative voting election elects the top vote-getters. However, voters are allowed to concentrate their full share of votes on a single candidate. For example, here in the 19th Legislative District, there are two seats for the State House of Representatives. With the Cumulative system, voters are permitted to give their two votes for the State House seats to one candidate. Another voter may choose to give one vote each to two candidates – regardless of party affiliation, if any. Candidates accumulate votes until the two with the most win. This means that voters in the 19th could elect both a Democrat and a Republican. There is a political science study of the possible effect of cumulative voting in our state house elections that confirms this. Cumulative Voting is considered a semi-proportional election system and has been scrutinized by the courts as constitutional. It’s used in various places in the nation.

In Other News: Tonight, (Thursday) - 6:30 p.m. is the meeting for the re-organization for the Elochoman Grange. The address is 259 Elochoman Valley Rd Cathlamet, WA 98612.

Grange events: April 13, Locavore dinner, 6:30 p.m., regular meeting 7:30 p.m .; April 27, Locavore dinner, 6:30 p.m., Grange Booster Night 7:30 p.m. May 8, Spring Pomona Arts & Crafts Contest, noon at the Skamokawa Grange.


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