For Immediate Release:
July 11, 2017
Matthew Nocella, (202) 724-8105
Grosso continues elections reform push with instant run off voting
Washington, D.C. – Today, Councilmember David Grosso (I-At Large) introduced legislation that ensures that elected officials have the support of a majority of voters by changing the way votes are counted in local elections.
The Instant Runoff Voting Amendment Act of 2017 would provide a method of casting and tabulating votes whereby a candidate for office must secure a majority of the votes cast before being declared the winner.
In the District of Columbia, primaries, open seats, and special elections result in crowded fields, as these provide opportunities for residents to give back to their communities by seeking public office. However, victors often emerge with less than a majority of the vote. Instant run off, or ranked choice, voting would ensure that voters’ preferences are more accurately reflected in the results.
"It is extremely troubling that candidates can be elected to public office with as little as 30 percent of the vote," said Grosso. "This important legislation will increase voter turnout as voters will be free to mark their ballot for the candidate that they truly prefer without fear that their choice will help elect their least preferred candidate. More importantly, instant runoff voting ensures that the elected candidate has true majority support.”
When tabulating the results, the Board of Elections would proceed in rounds. The first round eliminates the person with the fewest votes and then reallocates those votes to the voter’s second choice in the next round. This continues until one person receives a clear majority of the vote.
“Instant runoff voting will help change how we run for office, and force fields of candidates to focus on vigorous and spirited policy debates that appeal to a wide range of voters,” said Grosso. “In short, it will make our elections more competitive and fair, and strengthen confidence in our electoral outcomes.”
Reforming the District of Columbia’s campaigns and elections, and ensuring more residents are engaged in the political process, remains a high priority for Grosso. Earlier this year, he introduced the Fair Elections Act of 2017, which reduces the influence of big money in local campaigns by establishing a strong public financing system, and the Local Resident Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2017, which qualifies permanent residents to vote in local elections.