While Virginia Republicans have already embraced ranked choice voting for their nominating convention on May 8, new support for ranked choice voting continues to gain traction across the state. On Monday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and state Senator Jennifer McClellan expressed her support for ranked choice voting as part of a plan to make Virginia a leader on voting rights.
“As Governor, I will implement ranked-choice voting in Virginia multi-candidate elections. Shown to promote more representative elections and more positive campaigning, a ranked voting system would allow voters to choose from a list of candidates, ranking their preferences. Once implemented, Virginia would follow Maine—the first state to allow voters to choose their representatives by ranked choice vote.”
McClellan joins others in the Commonwealth calling for ranked choice voting, which has gathered momentum as both Democrats and Republicans go into the primary season with large candidate fields. Recently, state Delegate Sally Hudson announced the launch of a new non-profit, Ranked Choice Virginia, joining FairVote Virginia as a local advocate for key reforms.
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In a video released this week, Republican candidate for Governor, Kirk Cox, makes an appeal to convention delegates for their second choice. Ranked choice voting encourages candidates to engage in positive campaigning as they bid for voters’ second, or even third, choices. In primaries, this helps parties identify consensus candidates, as the winner moves forward with the support of a majority of voters. It also strengthens a political party’s position as their candidate moves forward into a general election without having faced months of party in-fighting and negative ads.
In multi-seat elections, ranked choice voting gives multiple diverse communities an opportunity to elect their candidate of choice. This promotes diversity of political viewpoints, as well as a diversity of candidate backgrounds and demographics, ensuring that multiple communities are represented in our democracy.