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An Effort to Bring Ranked Choice Voting to Virginia Elections is Gaining Traction

Lawmakers are considering a number of bills aimed at making Virginia elections more efficient and effective.

When you cast a ballot on Election Day, you select the one candidate you are voting for. But, Delegate Sally Hudson, a Democrat from Charlottesville, has a bill that would create a new system of ranked-choice voting. Voters would pick a first choice and a second choice. If one candidate doesn’t get the majority, the second-choices are used to conduct an instant runoff.

“So, the benefit is that no matter how many candidates run, you ensure that you find a winner with majority support while saving all the cost and hassle of traditional runoff elections,” she explains.

Republican Delegate Chris Runion of Rockingham County says that’s just too complicated.

“It confuses the voter, and it complicates the process," Runion says. "I would prefer that a voter goes in and makes his decision, casts their ballot and goes back and knows this is who they voted for and that’s who they support and they go home satisfied with that result.”

Runion was one of the no votes when the bill was considered in subcommittee. But he was in the minority; Hudson’s bill narrowly passed the subcommittee with a 4-3 vote.

The bill will be considered Friday morning in the House Privileges and Elections Committee.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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