What’s ranked choice voting and where will it be used in Virginia this election season?

It’s showing signs of growing in popularity. Now Arlington, Virginia, has adopted ranked choice voting to elect the county board in November.

Instead of picking only their favorite candidate, when using ranked choice the voter ranks candidates in order of preference.

Ballots that don’t help the voter’s top choice count for their next choice.

Deb Otis of Fair Vote — a national organization advocating for election reform — told the Arlington Board that where ranked choice voting (RCV) is being used, people like it.

“One of the key things that has jumped out at me from my research on ranked choice voting is how voters who have already used it say that they like it and they want to keep it,” Otis said.

The Arlington County Board voted unanimously in favor of the decision.

Arlington County has decided that voters will use the rank choice method when electing the county board in the November election.

Board Chair Libby Garvey announced the results during the weekend board meeting.

Before the vote, Arlington resident Audrey Clement spoke in favor of rank choice voting.

“RCV enables voters to rank candidates in order of preference and determines the winner by transferring the losers’ ballots to other rank candidates until someone gets the quorum needed to win,” Clement said.

While the board’s action covers only the board election in November, members expressed hope it can continue to be used in future elections.

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Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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