Join Club

(Updates at 7:25 p.m. on 7/18/23) Arlington County is not adopting ranked-choice voting for the general election this November.

When voters hit the polls or mail in their ballots this fall, they will pick two candidates just like they would in previous two-seat years. Those who get the largest plurality of votes — even if it doesn’t constitute a majority — will win a seat.

In June, voters in the Arlington County Democratic Primary used ranked-choice voting for the first time, in Arlington and in Virginia, to choose two people to run as Democrats for County Board this fall. They selected Maureen Coffey and Susan Cunningham to face Republican Juan Carlos Fierro and independent Audrey Clement.

On Saturday, the Board discussed whether to adopt it for the general election and decided against it — for now.

During the discussion, no Arlington County Board members said they were ready to move forward. They hinted at a future adoption, however, and praised the Dept. of Elections for what they said was a flawless execution of the new system.

Board members expressed concerns, however, about how votes are counted when two seats are up and the quality of outreach to voters about the new system, particularly people of color, renters and young people.

Dubbed “single transferable vote,” votes for eliminated candidates are transferred to subsequent choices and a portion of a winning candidate’s votes are transferred to subsequent choices.

“This isn’t no forever,” said Board Vice-Chair Libby Garvey. “There’s real ramifications that people haven’t totally wrestled with. We need to understand before we move forward.”

She questioned whether a different tabulation method could have yielded a different outcome as well as whether the method did not equally count everyone’s second-choice vote.

County Board Chair Christian Dorsey wanted to see voters try out the method in a primary with only one open seat. He said this typically uses a tabulation style known as “instant runoff” and may be more commonly understood.

“While I don’t really see it as proper and appropriate to continue this for the general, I do hope that everyone will agree at least later on this year — or as soon as possible — to commit to doing this again for the next primary season and the next general election, when our community education can be a lot more consistent with what they think they know RCV to be,” Dorsey said.

Meanwhile, a majority of the 15 public speakers on Saturday urged the Board to adopt the method in all future elections.

Liz White, Executive Director of UpVote Virginia, acknowledged that tabulation remains a sticking point for Arlington voters but praised how it went this June.

“This Board passed the pilot program with unanimous support, the registrar’s office received no complaints on Election Day, and the county reports that a majority of voters liked RCV and want to use it again,” she said. “This community should be very proud, and it is our hope that Arlington will build on this positive momentum, and that the members of the Board will commit to using RCV in the future.”

Read More


(Updated at 9:40 a.m. on 6/26/23) The ballots have all been counted and the results are finalized: Maureen Coffey and Susan Cunningham are the Democratic nominees for the Arlington County Board.

The results, released at 3:15 p.m. today (Saturday), culminated Arlington’s trial run of ranked-choice voting method. Eyes across the state were reportedly on Arlington, which the state legislature allowed to use the process for County Board elections one year before extending the right to the rest of the Commonwealth.

At noon today, Arlington election officials adjudicated the remaining 135 provisional ballots and began tabulating them around 1 p.m. These ballots were not expected to change the outcome of the tabulation yesterday (Friday), when officials processed ballots from early voting, primary day voting, and mail-in ballots.

On Tuesday’s primary day, no candidate in the six-way race crossed the threshold with only the first round of votes counted. Arlington waited until all the ballots were in, save provisional ballots, before eliminating lower vote-getters and tallying second- and third-place rankings.

Coffey, a researcher for the think tank American Progress, appears to have captured votes from many millennial renters like herself, receiving 10,786 votes.

Cunningham, who ran an unsuccessful bid for Arlington County Board as an independent in 2020, received 14,208 votes, initially carried by several precincts north of Langston Blvd.

Arlington County Board Democratic Primary Round 1 votes by precinct (by Jo DeVoe)

Coffey emerged victorious in the fourth round, after Jonathan Dromgoole, Tony Weaver and Julius “JD” Spain were eliminated, in that order. Cunningham crossed the victory threshold in round six, after Natalie Roy was eliminated.

How the ranking rounds played out for Arlington County Board (via Virginia Dept. of Elections)

Tabulation yesterday and today at county government headquarters was open to the public as was the certification of the results.

Both Coffey and Cunningham were both present on Friday. Coffey observed the vibe in the tabulation room was upbeat, complimenting Director of Elections Gretchen Reinemeyer for walking through every step, even though it seemed boring and technical.

“But as we waited for each step to happen, people were joking and laughing and being silly with it,” she said. “I think it’s reflective, Arlington County has some really good people.”

After the preliminary results were finalized on Friday, Coffey seemed stunned.

“This is so surreal,” she said. “This is wild.”

Cunningham was similarly upbeat.

“I am just excited at the prospect of serving our community next January,” Cunningham told ARLnow shortly after the tabulation. “I’m ready to take a true deep breath and I’m really proud of our candidates and the community for having a good and clean race.”

Read More


Arlingtonians could have an update on the results of the Arlington County Board Democratic primary as soon as this afternoon, according to the local elections office.

“We will be accepting about 500 mail and provisional ballots today and results will be uploaded throughout the afternoon,” says spokeswoman Tania Griffin. “We’ll also have an update regarding the [ranked-choice voting] tabulation later this afternoon as well.”

For the first time, Arlington voters used a ranked-choice system to pick their top candidates for the County Board, which has two open seats this year. The outcome will come down to who voters ranked second and third place.

It is a squeaker so far for Susan Cunningham, Natalie Roy, Maureen Coffey and Julius “J.D.” Spain, whose tally of first-choice votes are within a range of only 5 percentage points from most to least.

“This race is still wide open,” said Liz White, the executive director of UpVote Virginia, which has been educating residents about ranked-choice voting ahead of the primary.

“Four out of the six candidates could very well secure a win once subsequent rounds are tabulated,” she said in an email. “Round-by-round tabulation will occur as soon as all provisional and mail ballots are processed. Once all votes are processed, the tabulation is instantaneous.”

How Arlington County Board candidates ended Tuesday night with Round 1 votes in (via Virginia Dept. of Elections)

No candidate crossed the threshold for early victory: 33.3% of the first-choice votes, plus one vote.  The next step will be eliminating the lowest vote getters, in order. Who people picked after first ranking Jonathan Dromgoole and Tony Weaver could get any of the four other candidates past the finish line.

Cunningham, who took the lead in the first round of votes, tells ARLnow she has made peace with whatever happens next. Coffey, who currently sits in third place, says she is “on pins and needles” waiting for the results.

Political consultant Ben Tribbett is placing his bets that those who ranked Dromgoole first likely ranked Coffey or Spain next.

“When you get to the actual ranking of candidates, I think the third and fourth-place candidates are going to go on to win the election,” Tribbett said. “I would expect in that first round, that Maureen is going to win. There’s a chance Susan Cunningham could hold off J.D. in the second round.”

On Tuesday, County Board member Takis Karantonis — who endorsed Coffey and Spain — said Coffey performed well on a per campaign dollar spent basis. Meanwhile Spain, who had racked up several endorsements and raised substantial funds, underperformed, which he called a “sobering result.”

Looking precinct by precinct, it is clear that each of the candidates had a base. The more urban places with younger voters went for Coffey, while single-family home enclaves went for Cunningham and Roy, who were most critical of the zoning changes known as Missing Middle.

Arlington County Board Democratic Primary Round 1 votes by precinct (by Jo DeVoe)

Spain told ARLnow on Tuesday night that he enjoyed strong support in his neighborhood, Penrose, while noting more confrontations with upset voters above Langston Blvd.

“We won the most diverse precincts in Arlington,” he said. “[I’m] proud of that.”

Tribbett was more blunt about what he saw as the electoral dynamic, citing the geographic distribution of votes in the Commonwealth’s Attorney race in particular.

“It’s the Karens versus the non-Karens,” he said. “Clearly, there’s a divide in the community that jumps out at you.”

Read More


While the results of the ranked-choice Arlington County Board election have yet to be determined, the voting method has a champion in Rep. Don Beyer.

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.

Meantime, Arlington County is asking voters for feedback on their ranked-choice experience.

‘I Voted’ stickers on June 20, 2023 (staff photo)

Our latest morning poll is, admittedly, a bit niche.

Only 16% or so of Arlington registered voters cast a ballot in yesterday’s Democratic primary. Beyond the closely watched Commonwealth’s Attorney race, the primary was notable for being the first locally to utilize ranked choice voting, for the six-way County Board race.

Depending on which news article you were reading yesterday, voters were either flummoxed by the concept of RCV or thought it no big deal to fill in bubbles for their first, second and third choices of candidate.

“Virginia’s first ranked-choice election is vexing some Arlington voters,” said a Washington Post headline. The article went on to report that “Advocates for ranked-choice voting have cheered this pilot initiative, saying it will lead to results that better reflect the will of the electorate. But there seems to be one hiccup so far: Not many people understand how it works.”

WTOP talked to a voter who had trouble casting a valid ballot, but was able to fix it.

“Some found the ranked-choice voting system to be simple, while others encountered issues initially,” the radio station reported. “‘I did find it confusing, and in fact, on my first try, my ballot was rejected,’ Carol Davidson told WTOP, adding that she was eventually able to cast her vote.”

On the other hand, Virginia Mercury, a statewide outlet that’s part of a left-of-center nonprofit, said RCV voting in Arlington was “mostly smooth.”

“Many Arlington Democratic voters spoke positively about the ranked-choice voting system being pioneered this Primary Day for two county board of supervisors seats, although some said more education would have been helpful,” the outlet reported. “‘It was pretty easy,’ said Andrea Hansen, a resident who cast a ballot at the Westover precinct. ‘I think it gives the impression of more of an equal playing field and it encourages people to read up more on the candidates.'”

Either way, Arlington County is now asking for feedback on RCV, seeking voters who want to “share their opinions on and experiences with RCV in Arlington.”

We also want to know how ranked choice went, if you cast a ballot in the Democratic primary. Did it all make sense or did something about it confuse you?

All the while, Arlington awaits the results of the County Board voting: final tabulation to determine the Democratic nominees for the two open seats can take place no earlier than Friday, when the last of the legal mail-in ballots arrive.


(Updated at 9:25 p.m.) Commonwealth’s Attorney incumbent Parisa Dehghani-Tafti has defeated challenger Josh Katcher in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Dehghani-Tafti has 56% of the vote to 44% for Katcher, her former deputy, in the heated race for the top prosecutor of Arlington and Falls Church. That’s as of 8:40 p.m., with all but a few hundred provisional and late-arriving mailed ballots counted in Arlington. Polls closed at 7 p.m.

Katcher, standing outside of his watch party at Lost Dog Cafe in Westover, called Dehghani-Tafti shortly before 8:50 p.m. to concede the race.

The contentious — and expensive — contest has been seen as something of a referendum on the incumbent’s brand of vocal justice reform advocacy. Katcher, while billing himself as also in favor of justice reform, put a spotlight on Dehghani-Tafti’s leadership, which he linked to departures of deputy prosecutors amid a reported rise in crime.

“Right now we’re going to celebrate what we were able to accomplish with this campaign and thank the volunteers,” Katcher told ARLnow before heading back into his event.

“Over the course of the last six months, we’ve had an important debate in our community over the future of criminal justice reform,” he said in a subsequent written statement. “Our team left it all on the field, as we sought to have a debate about what real reform and real justice could mean for our community… I stand ready to continue my commitment to this community, to its safety and to the goal of ensuring that we are balancing the need for both justice and compassion.”

Dehghani-Tafti also thanked her supporters. Gesturing to the crowd gathered at her event at Fire Works Pizza in Courthouse (held with County Board candidate JD Spain) she said those present reflect a tiny fraction of the people who donated, volunteered, “held my hand,” and knocked on doors.

“A campaign based on love, dignity and respect prevailed,” she said. “I’m grateful for the trust everybody has placed in me.”

In the other two closely watched local races, for County Board and Sheriff, leads were slim.

The three-way county sheriff race has Jose Quiroz with a widening lead compared to earlier in the night, with 40% to 34% for former deputy sheriff Wanda Younger and 27% for Arlington police corporal James Herring.

Quiroz was appointed Acting Sheriff after the departure of long-time Sheriff Beth Arthur earlier this year. The position is primarily responsible for running the county jail in Courthouse, with the Sheriff’s Office also handling court security, civil process serving, and some law and traffic enforcement responsibilities.

The Arlington County Board primary, meanwhile, is being conducted for the first time using ranked choice voting, which means final tabulation will not take place until Friday at the earliest. Results of “first choice” votes are being posted, however, showing Susan Cunningham with 25%, Natalie Roy with 24%, Maureen Coffey with 22%, and JD Spain with 20%.

Read More


Just under 10% of voters have cast ballots in today’s Democratic primary as of 9 a.m.

That includes 7% who voted early or by mail and 2% voting at the polls Tuesday morning, according to Arlington County election officials.

Today’s primary, for the first time in Arlington, features the use of ranked choice voting, for the six-way race for the two open Arlington County Board seats. Voters are asked to fill in the bubble for up to three candidates, in order of priority — one each for first, second and third choice.

The County Board race has seen a wide range of endorsements and one particularly divisive issue dividing candidate factions: the recently-passed Missing Middle housing ordinance allowing smaller-scale multifamily homes in neighborhoods previously zoned only for single-family detached houses.

The other closely watched race today is that for Arlington and Falls Church’s top prosecutor, between incumbent Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and her former deputy, Josh Katcher.

The incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney has continued to campaign — and raise significant campaign funding — on her national profile as a justice reformer. Katcher says he supports a more practical and effective implementation of justice reform, and has picked up an endorsement from the local police union amid a rise in crime, according to recent police statistics.

The race has also seen Katcher face some criticism for taking campaign contributions from Republicans.

Additional races include a three-way race for county Sheriff, a two-way race for State Senate (40th District), and a race for House of Delegates (2nd District) featuring one active candidate, Adele McClure, and Kevin Saucedo-Broach, who withdrew but remains on ballots.

Though turnout today is light compared to years in which federal races are on the primary ballot, it is in line with the last four-year cycle, in 2019, when Dehghani-Tafti defeated incumbent Theo Stamos for Commonwealth’s Attorney. Total voter turnout in that race was just under 17%.

Polls opened today at 6 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.

While the results of most races should be known within a few hours, the final tally for County Board will take a few days — potentially extending into the weekend — due to how ranked choice votes are tabulated, including the need to wait until all legal mailed-in ballots are received

ARLnow previously asked candidates to write essays describing why Arlington voters should support them. Links to those posts are below.

Commonwealth’s Attorney: Josh Katcher and Parisa Dehghani-Tafti. County Board: Tony WeaverJonathan DromgooleJD SpainMaureen CoffeySusan Cunningham, and Natalie Roy. Sheriff: Jose QuirozJames Herring, and Wanda Younger. State Senate: Barbara Favola.

Update at 1:50 p.m. — Primary day turnout is up to about 5%, bringing total turnout to 12%, according to the county elections office.

Voting in Courthouse (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Just a few days remain to vote in the Arlington County Democratic primary.

Voters can cast their ballots early and in-person today (Friday) and tomorrow — or they can hit the polls on Tuesday.

This year, for the first time, residents are using ranked-choice voting to determine which Arlington County Board candidates will run with a (D) next to their names in the November general election. The format for every other primary contest is unchanged.

This article explains how to vote, how your vote is counted and why full results may come next weekend. At the minimum, this is what you should know:

  1. Anyone registered to vote, regardless of party, can participate in the primary.
  2. You can rank up to three of the six County Board candidates. You can only rank one or two if you want.
  3. Only two candidates will get the nomination.
  4. Only mark one oval per column and ask for assistance if you need help.

Filling out your ballot

Need a visual? This Arlington County flier provides step-by-step instructions:

Ranked-choice voting flier (via Arlington County) 

The scanner will reject ballots that look as follows.

Ranked-choice voting ballot errors (via Arlington County)

“Voters have the option to mark a new ballot or cast their ballot with the errors,” Arlington Dept. of Elections Director Gretchen Reinemeyer says. “A vast majority choose to spoil their original ballot and mark a new ballot.”

If you mailed in a ballot with errors, it will be reviewed.

“Their ballots are scanned after they are separated from the voter’s name to preserve voter privacy,” Reinemeyer says. “These ballots are held until election day and will be adjudicated by teams of election officers to determine voter intent.”

The rate of spoiled ballots so far this primary season is a little higher than normal, but still small, she noted. Final stats on spoiled ballots will be published after the election.

How are the winners picked? 

Liz White, the executive director of UpVote Virginia, tells ARLnow she used this analogy to explain tabulation when her organization educated Arlingtonians on ranked-choice voting.

You have $1 to spend to elect someone. Everyone pays their first pick $1 and whoever gets the least amount of money is eliminated.

A candidate who wins by a large margin does not need the full $1 — just, for instance, 70 cents. Your second pick gets 30 cents.

If your first-place candidate is eliminated, your second-place pick gets your full $1. Everyone has a whole vote: for some, it is split among two and for others, it supports the second-place pick.

Armed with this knowledge, White says do not get too strategic.

“One of the nice things is that voters don’t have to be pundits,” she said. “They can truly say, ‘If I don’t have this one candidate, I want to have this one.'”

Read More


Six months ago, the Arlington County Board adopted ranked-choice voting for the upcoming Democratic primary.

Since then, the Arlington elections office has been busy educating anyone who asks on the method, which only applies to candidates for County Board.

The Arlington branch of the NAACP, however, says the county needs to step up its outreach to ensure all voters are prepared when they cast early ballots or go to the polls on June 20.

ARLnow, for instance, has heard from some residents who are unsure or skeptical of how votes will be counted.

“We have directly heard a series of grave concerns from our community regarding the implementation of this significant change,” NAACP President Mike Hemminger said in a statement. “We will be monitoring this change with intense focus in the run up to and after the election to ensure that no one’s foundational right to vote becomes disenfranchised or impeded in Arlington County.”

Concern about outreach highlights the stakes of this trial run. Arlington is the first Virginia jurisdiction to test ranked-choice voting for the primary and one election official tells ARLnow that people outside the county are watching closely.

“It’s fair to say, without sounding dramatic, that the eyes of the Commonwealth are on Arlington and this ranked-choice voting process,” Arlington Electoral Board Secretary Scott McGeary says.

Its success in the primary could also determine if ranked-choice voting is adopted to pick the successors for Christian Dorsey and Katie Cristol in the November general election.

So far, interest in learning more about ranked-choice voting is strong, says Arlington Dept. of Voter Registration and Elections Director Gretchen Reinemeyer.

Her staff is working through an education plan it rolled out in April. Part of that is making presentations — at a clip of at least two presentations a week, and once three in one night — and helping community groups facilitate workshops.

“Rollout for ranked-choice voting has gone smoothly,” Reinemeyer says. “I would say that most voters understand the concept and are aware that the County Board race is using the voting method. A handful of voters are vocally unhappy. The most common question is ‘Do I have to rank all three?'”

The answer to that, McGeary says, is no. People can rank up to three candidates — the maximum county ballot machines can accommodate. Some recent endorsements have recommended how candidates should be ranked.

One key strategy was developing toolkits so that people and organizations could host information sessions and run mock elections, which Reinemeyer said has been an effective way to reach lots of people and explain how votes are counted.

“The idea of these toolkits is that anyone can take the toolkit and teach their friends, neighbors, community organizations about ranked choice voting,” Reinemeyer said. “We are seeing members of our community run with these toolkits.”

The county is also relying on materials the state produced. This includes two videos — one explaining how ranked-choice voting works and the other how votes are counted — as well as an FAQ page and flyers in Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese.

One notable change, per a state video, is that if there are no clear winners, it could take up to seven days to apportion second- and third-choice votes to determine who actually won.

“I have no doubt we’ll be able to do the math properly and get the results as fast as possible,” McGeary said. “From a technical and counting standpoint, I’m confident we’ll be able to count and announce as soon as possible.”

Read More

2 Comment
Election Day 2022 in Arlington (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

In the primary election next June, registered voters will be able to rank their preferred candidates for a seat on the Arlington County Board.

The change comes after the Arlington County Board unanimously endorsed testing out ranked-choice voting for County Board elections on Saturday.

“This reform alone will not be sufficient to overcome… the forces trying to undermine our democratic traditions,” Board Chair Katie Cristol said. “Nevertheless, I think this is worth trying. I hope that we can not only excite Arlington voters about the potential, give them an opportunity to express the full range of their preferences, but also provide a model to other communities.”

The Board’s decision makes Arlington the first locality in Virginia to move forward on adopting ranked-choice voting.

UpVote Virginia, a newly formed nonpartisan organization that supports changes like ranked-choice voting, celebrated the move.

“It’s not everyday in Virginia you can say you were the first to do something, but this resolution truly does signify a historic opportunity,” UpVote Virginia Executive Director Liz White said. “Looking forward, we hope your example today will set the stage for other localities across the Commonwealth.”

The change, which would only apply to primaries run by the county’s Office of Elections, comes months ahead of the primary. Legally, the Board has until March 22, 2023 to enact RCV for the June 20 primary.

Local political parties will declare whether they will pick their nominee via a primary run by Arlington’s election office or a party-run convention.

According to White, the method has bipartisan support.

“Even longtime political rivals have found common ground in support of ranked-choice voting,” she told the Board on Saturday. “At UpVote Virginia’s launch event in August, we heard remarks in favor of RCV from your very own Democratic Congressman Don Beyer and former Gov. George Allen, a Republican. It’s not often you get those two speaking at the same event, but that really encapsulates how broad RCV’s appeal can be.”

And in Arlington, a recently closed survey that netted 786 responses found that the majority of respondents support the change.

Support for ranked-choice voting drawn from a survey of Arlingtonians (via Arlington County)

Per the survey, support fluctuated some based on zip code. Support was weakest in the 22207 zip code — residential northern Arlington, which trends a bit more conservative than the rest of deep blue Arlington — where 63% of 152 residents support it. That compared with 75% of 177 residents in the 22201 zip code, which includes part of the Rosslyn-Ballston Metro corridor.

Other zip codes with smaller response rates had higher favorability rates.

Support for ranked-choice voting by zip code in Arlington (via Arlington County)

The potential change comes on the heels of other voting reforms enacted by the state, including expanded access to absentee ballots, new automatic and same-day voter registration and new legislative maps.

Read More


(Updated at 9:30 p.m.) What many believed would be the most competitive Arlington County Board race in four years has turned out to be another convincing Democratic victory.

The three-way race between incumbent Democrat Matt de Ferranti and independents Audrey Clement and Adam Theo is, at least to some degree, a referendum on Missing Middle housing.

Clement strongly opposes the proposal to allow smaller-scale multifamily housing in neighborhoods currently zoned only for single-family homes, while Theo supports it. De Ferranti, meanwhile, staked out a middle ground, expressing opposition to the higher 8-unit end of the potential range of allowed housing types.

With 55 out of 57 precincts reporting, de Ferranti has 60% of the vote to 28% for Clement and 10% for Theo.

Both Clement and Theo ran for County Board last year, before Missing Middle came to the fore as a hot-button local issue. In the 2021 race, Democrat Takis Karantonis carried about 60% of the vote to 18% for Clement, 6% for Theo and 14% for Mike Cantwell, another independent candidate..

The Missing Middle proposal has attracted the ire of many homeowners, while a coalition of groups — from affordable housing boosters to the local chapter of the NAACP — support it.

An early look at precinct-by-precinct results shows support for Clement in Arlington’s northern, single-family home neighborhoods. The Madison district in far northern Arlington, for instance, has voted 58% for Clement to 36% for de Ferranti and 4% for Theo. She also claimed the Thrifton (Woodmont), Rock Spring, and Yorktown districts — all also in far northern Arlington.

That compares to the more renter-heavy Met Park district, in the Pentagon City neighborhood, which voted 64% for de Ferranti and 20% for Clement and 15% for Theo.  A more “in between” district — Fairlington, with its mix of townhouses and smaller condo buildings — voted 66% for de Ferranti, 23% for Clement and 9% for Theo.

Also on the ballot today were School Board and congressional races, which were even more lopsided for the Democratic candidates.

For the open Arlington School Board seat vacated by Barbara Kanninen, Arlington County Democratic Committee-endorsed candidate Bethany Sutton has 68% of the vote to 30% for independent James ‘Vell’ Rives IV.

Meanwhile, incumbent Rep. Don Beyer has 77% of the vote in the Virginia 8th District congressional race, to 21% for Republican Karina Lipsman and 1.5% for independent Teddy Fikre.

Arlington Democrats claimed victory on Twitter just after 9 p.m.

De Ferranti tells ARLnow he was impressed by the 85,000 people who voted this election, in which there was no senatorial, gubernatorial or presidential race.

“In Virginia, that doesn’t happen very often,” he said. “There are other elections where there is an even lower turnout. This is a pretty rare election, and to have 85,000 vote in this election is a pretty solid turnout.”

He said addressing climate change, investing in schools and tackling affordable housing and housing affordability — “related but distinct” issues — will be key priorities this term.

“I’m grateful to Arlington residents for the chance to serve them,” he said. “I love doing this job and I’m humbled, grateful, and looking forward to serving over the next four years. I’m going to try and live up to Arlingtonians: that means being smart, thoughtful and compassionate, caring about our community and being forward-looking.”

Clement told ARLnow she was dismayed with the results, though she won four out of 54 districts — including Madison, with her 22-point margin — and came within just over 1% of the vote in another.

“I didn’t perform as well as I thought I would,” she said. “I thought I would push 40% — the sentiment I got on the street indicated a better showing.”

Read More


Subscribe to our mailing list