The following is an overview of the mechanics of Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV), which Arlington will be using for the first time in its primaries this spring. RCV is a voting system that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference, rather than simply selecting one candidate. Voters will have the opportunity to rank up to 3 candidates in the June 20th Democratic Primary.
RCV differs from traditional first-past-the-post systems in the following ways. First and foremost, it ensures that the winning candidate has the support of a majority of voters, rather than a plurality. The RCV process begins with voters ranking the candidates in order of preference. If one candidate receives a majority of first-preference votes, that candidate is declared the winner. If no candidate receives a majority, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated, and their votes are redistributed to the remaining candidates based on the voters' second choices. This process continues until one candidate, or in this case, two people, have a majority of votes.
RCV is particularly important in multi-candidate races, where any candidate could win with only a small percentage of the vote. By ensuring that the winner has broad support from the electorate, RCV is intended to help reduce the likelihood of extreme or polarizing candidates winning elections. If you have any questions about RCV, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.
This year we have 6 candidates vying for 2 spots in the Democratic Primary on June 20th. Early voting starts on May 5th. Absentee ballots will also be mailed out to everyone who has requested to vote by mail in early May.