Long Overdue Update and RCV News
Our organization welcomed a few new phenomenal members to our Board of Directors. Many of our Board Members have started conversations with their County Board of Supervisors, Town or City Councils, and Election Administrators about ranked choice voting and implementation of HB1103. We would love for other RCV enthusiasts to start these important conversations with their local elected officials, too! The pandemic has more people working and studying from home. We have seen an influx in traffic to our website and calls to FairVote Virginia's President. We have enjoyed speaking with new members and eager volunteers, interested in advancing our simple reform that could bring some sanity back to elections! Please reach out to us if you want to help and we will put you in contact with a Volunteer Coordinator or Regional Lead in your area. FairVote Virginia President, Elizabeth Melson, met via Zoom with a working group of leaders from the Virginia League of Women Voters. The LWV has been a wonderful ally in offering a space for us to speak about ranked choice voting, and we are always happy to chat about the subject with them! We wrapped up our Summer Internship Program, and couldn't be more grateful to host such a bright team of young people! Our six interns developed social media guidelines and campaigns, relaunched a Twitter account and began our Instagram account. They also collected an impressive amount of data on each county and town/ city in Virginia to identify places that may be ideal for implementing ranked choice voting. We are also closely watching for the findings of a study required by Budget Amendment HB29, which explores replacing VERIS (Virginia Election and Registration Information System.) It is our urging that if VERIS is replaced, that the new system chosen must be compatible with RCV ballots. The last we heard, the study completion is on target for October reporting, and since RCV has already passed the legislature and becomes an option for all localities in 2021...it will be part of the initial requirements! https://budget.lis.virginia.gov/amendment/2020/1/HB29/Introduced/FA/83/1h/ "It is the intent of the General Assembly that the Department of Elections release a Request for Information in fiscal year 2020 related to the replacement of the Virginia Election and Registration Information System (VERIS). The Department shall provide an update to the Chairs of House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee on the options and potential costs for replacing VERIS on or before September 1, 2020."
Ranked choice voting became a necessary alternative to lengthy assembled run off conventions, during the pandemic. RCV was used in both Democratic and Republican Party Conventions this year in Virginia. Most notable, in August, to elect the Republican Party of Virginia's State Chair! In the second round of tabulation Rich Anderson received 62% of the vote. In VA10 and VA11 districts, the Republican Party conventions selected candidate for House of Representatives by ranked choice voting. Commentary in an article on thebullelephant.com noted that in the 10th District convention, "was a very well run unassembled convention with everything working as it should have. For most of the day, there were no lines at all, with some short wait times in the early morning when Loudoun county was voting. There were 1600 delegates registered and 1240 showed up to vote, an excellent turnout." Arlington County Democratic Party used ranked choice voting to endorse candidates for County Supervisor and School Board. Also, in Arlington County, there is an initiative underway to implement RCV in local elections. Please let us know of any other initiatives ongoing in Virginia localities. We would love to help you organize!