Arlington, VA Board Unanimously Votes to Continue Ranked Choice Voting in Primaries

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
Created: 20 December, 2023
Updated: 19 January, 2024
1 min read

Photo Credit: Element5 Digital on Unsplash


On December 19, the Arlington County Board unanimously voted to use ranked choice voting for all future county board primaries. The decision comes after a survey found that 70% of voters rated their experience with RCV as "positive," "fair," or "exceptional."

"Today’s vote will show that using RCV in June wasn’t simply a one-off – it will show that Arlington’s experiment with RCV was a success and was just the beginning," said UpVote Virginia Executive Director Liz White in testimony to the board.

"We are very excited about this decision to make RCV permanent for county board primaries, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t encourage you to keep going."

The board will take up a proposal to expand RCV's use to general elections in January. According to a report from the GazetteLeader, at least two board members believe the expansion will happen. 

This development follows several successful uses of RCV, including a government-run primary in 2020. Arlington piloted the proportional form of RCV which fills multiple board seats on a single ballot by requiring candidates to reach a specific vote threshold to get a seat. 

“The most significant benefit that I get excited about as a former civic educator… is how [RCV] can help really develop and inform a civic electorate, because people have more of an opportunity to find candidates to reflect their interest," said County Board Chair Christian Dorsey.

The next primary to use RCV will be held in June 2024. However, this election will be different from the 2020 primary because only a single seat will be decided. Therefore, the single-winner form of RCV -- which is far more common nationwide -- will be used.

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A special thanks to FairVote Communications Director Will Mantel for providing the information for this story. 

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