From May 9th to 13th, the Arlington County Democratic Committee (ACDC) will be using ranked choice voting to select their nominee for a seat on the Arlington County Board. With incumbent Jay Fisette not seeking a sixth term, a crowded field of four candidates are seeking the party’s nomination for the open seat.
Under the ACDC’s 2017 Caucus Rules, ranked choice voting is used to select party nominees for both the Arlington County Board and the Arlington County School Board when more than one candidate files for the position. Explaining the party’s decision to conduct a ranked choice voting caucus rather than use the statewide primary to nominate a candidate, ACDC chair Kip Malinosky noted that ranked choice voting “encourages candidates to have a message that appeals to a coalition rather than just mobilize a base. It will discourage the type of negative campaigns that have sometimes happened in the past.”
The ACDC and Charlottesville Democratic Party have used ranked choice voting to nominate candidates at several caucuses since 2014. Parties nationwide are using ranked choice voting to open up their processes to multiple perspectives while still building consensus. This year’s ACDC caucus should serve as an additional example of the positive impact that ranked choice voting can have on the party nomination process.