The Council of the District of Columbia Discusses Ranking Voting

Measure ensures fairer and fairer representation in communities

More choice, more power!

Learn more at morevoicedc.org

Learn more at morevoicedc.org

Washington, DC, Nov. 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — WASHINGTON, DC, Nov. 22, 2021 — The Council of the District of Columbia hosted a public hearing on ranked votes (RCV) on Nov. 18, 2021. The hearing gave Washingtonians the opportunity to discuss publicly The VOICE Act, B24-0372, the Voter Ownership, Integrity, Choice, and Equity Amendment Act of 2021, which would bring rank-based voting to the district. Voting by ranked choice allows voters to preferentially rank up to five candidates, rather than choosing just one. It goes like this:

  • 1st choice: the candidate you love.

  • 2nd choice: The candidate you like.

  • 3rd or 4th choice: The candidate you like a bit

  • 5th choice: The candidate you can stand.

The hearing was virtual, with many DC residents participating in the forum, voting 60 out of 89.

“We heard from youth and seniors, advocates and organizers, former candidates and those currently active in making change in the district, Black and Brown leaders, Democrats and Independents, residents from all corners of the district and everything in between,” noted Sean Dugar, executive director of More Voice DC.

The benefits of RCV are as diverse as the candidates qualified to work under this system. Candidates are incentivized to positively campaign to appeal to the supporters of other candidates as backup preference. Data shows that in all jurisdictions that use RCV — including New York City, Minneapolis and San Francisco — turnout is modest, and races are more dynamic and conversational with real-life policy debates crowding out negative campaign tactics.

But a majority of commentators who took up this topic during the forum were very supportive of the VOICE Act and RCV.

“Ward 8 has historically been undercounted. The two wards with the lowest voter participation in any election since at least 2014 are wards 7 and 8. Ranked choice voting makes the electoral process fairer and creates an atmosphere in which we can have more diverse candidates in the process, which is why I support it enthusiastically.” said Phil Pannell, who also works on senior issues, “I want to send the message to the entire city that every vote counts and that Ranked Choice would be the logical process to amplify that message.”

Makia Green, the organizing director of the DC Working Families Party, commented, “The VOICE Act makes us all eligible and valid. It embraces the values ​​of freedom, justice and true democracy of the Black Washingtonians.”

Election reform expert Lisa DT Rice stated, “I am excited about the prospect of introducing RCV in Washington, DC. Opposing greater voting freedom is against democratic values.”

Studies have found that RCV specifically benefits communities of color by counting round by round, with black and Hispanic candidate total votes and district gains growing through the ranking process.

According to Dugar, “Two things are clear. DC has a problem when it comes to representation, whether its candidates are elected despite 80 percent of voters voting for someone else, wards that have never elected a woman to the council, candidates who entire communities as they campaigned and entire populations that have not yet seen people like them elected to office. The second is that DC is in dire need of and ready to implement ranked electoral voting.”

The next steps towards RCV implementation include a vote in the spring of 2022. If successful, there will be a robust multi-year awareness campaign before RCV is first used in 2024.

About More Voice DC

More Voice DC is committed to expanding the voices of Washingtonians in the political process and ensuring DC residents are educated on how to use their voice most effectively. For more information, visit https://www.morevoicedc.org.

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CONTACT: Savanna Mickens Octane Public Relations and Advertising 240-888-4394 smickens@octanepublicrelations.com

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