Washington, D.C. Will Consider Ranked-Choice Voting for Local Elections

Posted by Claire Daviss on January 06, 2015
Councilmember David Grosso submitted a bill on Tuesday morning proposing to change the plurality system used to elect the mayor, the city council, and the attorney general of Washington, D.C. Instead, he proposed to adopt instant runoff voting, otherwise known as ranked-choice voting.

The Associated Press explained the system clearly: "Voters in instant-runoff elections rank candidates in order of preference. Candidates with the fewest votes are eliminated in rounds. That means if a voter's first choice has been eliminated, that voter's second choice gets a vote."

Councilmember Grosso has pointed out many advantages of the system. In a stream of tweets this morning, Councilmember Grosso pointed out the many advantages of the system. He wrote, from his Twitter handle @cmdgrosso:
"We're definitely lucky that in DC we have no shortage of qualified individuals willing to run to serve our city in a public capacity.
 "But that same asset also presents challenges--for example, Ward 8 special election coming up this spring has over 20 candidates registered.
"It is excellent that so many residents are interested in public service. But our voting system is not well-designed for that many candidates.
 "Too often, with so many candidates, the winner of the election does not have a clear majority of support from the electorate.
 "And that's really troubling for a couple of reasons. For one, it increases voter apathy.
 "Also, it diminishes possibility of vigorous policy debates among candidates since there's little need to appeal to a broad array of voters.
 "Using instant runoff and ranked choice voting seems like an obvious solution to this problem. That's why I introduced this bill."
 Grosso explained that ranked-choice voting is already used in many cities, and that it offers advantages including higher voter turnout, positive and widespread campaigning, and elections that are "more competitive, fairer, and more interesting."
Show Comments
comments powered by Disqus

Join Us Today to Help Create a More Perfect Union