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Even Democrats Are Passing on Ranked-Choice Voting

Last month, deep-blue Arlington County, Virginia became the latest Democrat-controlled election authority to give ranked-choice voting a try.

Less than a month later, the experiment is dead. The all-Democrat County Board unanimously decided that ranked-choice voting will not be used again in the November election.

What happened?

  • A winner lost, and a loser won: In a nominating election for two seats on the county board, the second-place finisher on the initial ballot ended up in third place after applying the ranked-choice voting algorithm, and the initial third-place finisher was given one of the nominations.
  • Tuesday’s results announced on Friday night: Voters had a long wait to learn who the computer selected: Tuesday’s election was initially tabulated on Friday night, with the final tabulation announced on Saturday afternoon.
  • The WINNER’S votes had to be “recycled”: In order to name a second-place finisher, the candidate who received the most votes had to have their votes taken away and “split”. It was this split, on the fifth round, that moved the second-place finisher down into third.
  • Questions and uncertainty about the outcome: Arlington County Board Vice-Chair Libby Garvey (D) questioned whether a “different tabulation method could have yielded a different outcome,” as well as whether the algorithm “did not equally count everyone’s second-choice vote.”

Remember, this was an all-Democrat election in an 80-percent Democrat county!

And even this disaster isn’t going to be enough to kill ranked-choice voting in Virginia. “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.”

Read more:

FGA Blog: Alameda County is the Unofficial Poster Child of Ranked-Choice Voting’s Failures

FGA: Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) Explainer

FGA: Debunking the Top Ranked-Choice Voting Myths

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