Beyer tells ARLnow that voters are more likely to see someone they support reach the Board as a result of the voting method’s choice in the six-way Democratic primary for two open seats. He had another reason for supporting ranked-choice voting, too: it rewards candidates who build diverse coalitions, meaning candidates away from the partisan extremes are more likely to emerge triumphant.
“I’m a very strong supporter of ranked-choice voting as it maximizes the happiness and satisfaction of citizens,” said Beyer, who has represented Virginia’s 8th congressional district since 2015, during an interview yesterday (Wednesday) at his office on Capitol Hill.
For the first time, local voters went to the polls on Tuesday — and in early voting — and ranked their candidates in order of preference. Their votes count towards another candidate if their top pick is eliminated in what is known as “single transferable vote.”
Since the Virginia General Assembly gave Arlington permission to try it out before the rest of the state, election officials say lots of people are watching this race with interest. That includes Beyer, who observed that so far, the voting process seemed to be working.
“The early feedback this morning was that there were almost no bad ballots, meaning that almost everyone understood the ranked-choice voting method. It is not that hard, all you have to do is go through your choice one through three in terms of preference,” Beyer said.
There have been reports of confusion leading up to the primary, particularly about how votes are counted. An informal ARLnow poll found that some 20% of primary voters were confused either by the voting or tabulation process but most found it straightforward.
For Beyer, however, the benefits are clear.
“With ranked-choice voting, people are able to rank their top three choices, knowing that one of those three people is likely to win. As a voter, you have the chance to see someone who you most prefer to be elected. Without this, if your first choice does not win, you have no say beyond that one person,” Beyer said.
The congressman said at the national level, ranked-choice voting could have a moderating effect on the two political parties, which are pulling voters farther right or left as more extreme candidates emerge.
“In the Democratic primary, candidates appeal to the Democratic base which means they’re going to pull it farther and farther to the left. Republicans are going to pull farther and farther to the right,” Beyer said. “In Congress, there is no overlap. There is the missing moderate. We are so polarized, however, ranked choice voting allows for candidates who will serve everyone rather than one side to be elected.”
While ranked-choice voting could theoretically help results get calculated more quickly, jurisdictions voting this way, including Arlington, appear to instead be waiting longer to ensure all the ballots are in. That means results are not clear immediately after election night, though this expectation has also been eroded in conventional election by more people using mail-in and provisional ballots.
For Beyer, waiting is a secondary concern to what he says could be a healthier democracy.
“I’m excited about ranked-choice voting and believe that it will be good for our democracy which is the key thing,” he said. “It will also benefit our parties and make our voting system more responsive. I am always advocating for it.”
Today, the Arlington County Dept. of Elections said its staff began uploading votes. Calculating who is eliminated in the tabulation rounds and redistributing second-choice votes, however, may not begin until the weekend.
Good Tuesday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
Step inside a cult-classic inspired world at DC Fray’s can’t-miss Halloween party packed with endless references to iconic films and music from the ‘80s and ‘90s. Vibe to retro sounds…
The restoration of Ballston Wetlands Park is officially complete and the park is now open to the public. Arlington County officials and community members marked the occasion today (Tuesday) with a…
A Wakefield High School freshman named Jorge Chavarria Rodíguez died Thursday evening, according to several sources. The 16-year-old attended Barcroft Elementary School and Kenmore Middle School and had just started…
The Kinhaven 5K and Family Fest is the family-friendly race of the fall. Runners, walkers, and stroller pushers hit the trail while family members enjoy the fan zone including moonbounce, face painting, music, snacks, and games.
Proceeds support outdoor education and fitness programming.
Early Bird Registration rates through September 30 at runkinhavendotcom!
Donate between 9/27 (Wed) and 9/30 (Sat) to Double Your Contribution to Nathan’s Cancer Slayers 2023, on behalf of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Nathan’s team works in memory of Nathan Fleming, who graduated from Washington-Liberty in 2019 while undergoing chemo and radiation.
Nathan was one of a kind, a great soul, and wise beyond his years. Loving and kind, funny, smart, interesting, easy-going, a little bit goofy and always positive.
Since May 2020, Nathan’s team has raised more than $425,000 to advance innovative childhood cancer research. This year, all the funds we raise will support sarcoma research at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Every dollar makes a big difference. Research to discover new drug treatments would NOT be possible without philanthropic funding. Unbelievably, childhood cancer research receives just 4% of the annual budget from the National Cancer Institute, underscoring the importance of charitable giving.
Workshops on: ~ Meditation ~ Intro to Tarot: The Aces and Major Arcana
~ Ageless Aging ~ Past Life Regression ~ Animal Communication and Healing
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