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2022 RCV Bills Did Not Advance

Richmond, Virginia

Thank you to all who submitted comments to the Privileges & Elections hearing. There were over 20+ comments submitted to the hearing in favor of the bills, HB129 and HB603, from all over the Commonwealth of Virginia.

However, even with all the favorable and informative comments and Zoom testimony from RCV advocates, ally organizations, and even the Commissioner of the Department of Elections, the bills were "gently" laid on the table. Meaning, they are not likely to be heard again this session.


The votes were very close, with Delegate Adams, D. - D joining Republicans to table the bills and Delegate Williams - R, previously listed as a co-sponsor of the bill, also voting against it. Delegate Greenhalgh - R joined Democratic members to vote to move HB129 forward. Delegate Bloxom -R was not present for the committee meeting.







Delegate Leftwich - R made the motion to end the movement of HB129 expressing that he was, "concerned with how to get from A to B." He stated that, while he was impressed with the slate of Executive candidates who were nominated in convention by ranked choice voting, he believed the committee should put a "pause on the bill." HB603 met the same fate as HB129, so moved by Delegate Adams, L.R. - R.


The State Department of Elections has already directed local elections staff on how to implement ranked choice voting elections. Those regulations were published in December 2021. Concerns of "how to get from A to B" should be put to rest.

The Commissioner of Elections, Chris Piper, testified that he was, "confident new machines could get certified and we could work on the training and...be ready for [an RCV] primary next year."


There was robust discussion of the RCV bills. Delegate VanValkenburg -D expressed that RCV, "incentivizes broad coalition -building" in campaigns and leads to candidates, "extending past their strongest constituency."


It was noted by the Chief Bill Patron, Delegate Davis - R, that RCV "brings more civility to campaigns...that's something that voters are dying for."


HB129 had an impressive list of bipartisan co-sponsors.

  • Glenn R. Davis -R (chief patron)

  • Dan I. Helmer - D (chief co-patron)

  • Sally L. Hudson - D (chief co-patron)

  • Nicholas J. Freitas - R

  • Jackie H. Glass - D

  • Sam Rasoul - D

  • Schuyler T. VanValkenburg -D

A law from 2020, that had delayed enactment until July 2021, does allow for ranked choice voting for County Board and Town Council elections. Delegate Hudson - D explained that a few localities with interest in implementing RCV would like to enact RCV elections for other offices, too, such as school board, "to bring consistency to their ballots."


Follow the link below to the video stream list, to view the hearing. Scroll down to Privileges and Elections 1/21. Delegate Davis begins speaking about HB129 at 7:55 am. Delegate Hudson speaks about HB603 at 8:16 am.

https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/chamber/chamberstream.php


Elizabeth Melson, FairVote Virginia President "found it rather unusual that these bills went straight to Full Committee." She explained that in years past, "RCV bills typically go to a sub-committee first, then full committee. It also seemed like these bills were rather abruptly put on an agenda, with less than 24 hour notice for the public."


FairVote Virginia would like to thank the bill patrons and co-sponsors, delegates who voted in favor of moving RCV legislation forward, RCV ally organizations, and our Board Members, volunteers, and followers for their support.


Our work is not done, please join us for #RCVDay Rally at Legend Brewing Company in Richmond on 1/23, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm.


Later, that evening we're capping off RCV Day 1/23 with a virtual celebration for all in the movement. Register at https://bit.ly/rcvday2022 for the Sunday Jan 23rd at 8pm ET/7pm CT/6pm MT/5pm PT call with US Representative Dean Phillips, FairVote President and CEO Rob Richie, Represent Women Executive Director Cynthia Terrell, Rank the Vote Executive Director Nathan Lockwood, and RCV organization leaders from across the country.

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