On November 4, Delegate Sally Hudson (57th) went before the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors to present to its members arguments in favor of ranked choice voting. Chief among them was that, as a system, it ensures that candidates for office must win with a majority of the electorate’s backing rather than simply the most votes, which can be as low as 35% or 40% in elections with more than two candidates in a race.
Under ranked choice voting, voters would be asked to rank candidates in the order they prefer. Once all the votes are in, the first-choice votes are counted. If no candidate receives a majority (50%+1 vote) of the first-choice votes, then the candidate in last place is eliminated and their voters’ votes transfer based on their next available preference. This process continues until a candidate wins a majority.
It’s time that we implement a reform that would increase voter choice, increase pluralism, and allow every voter to vote freely for their preferred candidate without the fear of the dreaded “spoiler” effect that so often maligns multi-candidate races.