County Board Welcomes Public Comment on Ranked Choice Voting
Published on September 21, 2022
The County Board invites the public to provide comments on a proposed Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) method pilot for the 2023 County Board June primary election. An online public comment form is available now through November 4, 2022 on the County’s website.
Based on the feedback, the Board is considering holding a hearing at its November 2022 meeting for a resolution to make RCV the method of election for the Arlington County Board primary election candidates. If a resolution is passed, the Electoral Board and Registrar’s Office will conduct additional outreach and education for candidates and the public.
Previous Community and County Board Engagement on Ranked Choice Voting
The Virginia General Assembly voted to enable localities across the Commonwealth to use Ranked Choice Voting in local elections for city councils and boards of supervisors during the 2020 Session.
In fall 2021, the Arlington Electoral Board conducted a public engagement with Q&A and a “mock election” and held a joint work session with the County Board to discuss this method of voting in the County. Board members expressed interest in soliciting public feedback and exploring a pilot program for the 2023 County Board primary elections. The video of the October 5, 2021 County Board work session and the presentation are available on the County Board Meetings page.
About Ranked Choice Voting
Ranked Choice Voting is an election method that allows voters the option to rank candidates in order of preference (first, second and third choice, etc.), though they are not required to do so.
RCV differs from plurality voting, Arlington’s current method, in which voters may only select one candidate. If a candidate receives more than half of the first choices, that candidate wins, just like in any other election. However, if there is no majority winner after counting the first choices, the race is decided by an instant runoff. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and voters who ranked that candidate as their first choice will have their votes count for their next choice. This process continues until a candidate emerges with more than half of the vote and is declared the winner.
The threshold for winning in RCV is adjusted based on the number of seats to fill. A similar process of eliminating and electing candidates through rounds of counting occurs until all the seats are filled.
For more information, visit the Ranked Choice Voting Resource Center and the County Board’s website.