The D.C. Democratic Party has rejected the implementation of ranked-choice voting, saying the method of prioritizing candidates on ballots is not in the city’s best interest.

Party leaders said in a statement Wednesday that they came to that conclusion after an eight-month deliberation process, which included input from ward and affiliate organizations.

“We acknowledge that RCV may be a suitable option for certain jurisdictions, however, when considering the District’s specific circumstances, we have identified significant concerns that prevent us from endorsing this approach,” the statement said. “[The] fundamental issue we identified is that District wards are not equal in terms of voter turnout. Implementing RCV would not adequately address this disparity and could potentially undermine the democratic principles we strive to uphold.”

The statement further noted that under-voting is a challenge in the District and RCV would exacerbate the problem.

“Our priority is to ensure that every vote is counted and that the voice of each voter is accurately represented, without introducing additional complexities that could hinder voter engagement and participation,” the statement said.

RCV, roughly defined, is the placing of preference of candidates on an election ballot numerically instead of the normal system of just choosing one. In RCV, the winner of an election is the candidate who eventually ends up with 50% of the vote, which could happen in the first round or after multiple rounds.

Rank the Vote DC, an advocacy group, supports a ballot initiative in 2024 that codifies RCV as the city’s election system. If successful, the transformation would take place in 2026.

D.C. Council member Christina Henderson (I-At Large) supports RCV, along with former Ward 8 D.C. State Board of Education member Markus Batchelor and D.C. statehood activist Makia Green.

Party leaders maintain that RCV is an attempt to undermine the strength of Democrats in the city and could introduce covertly open primaries “that could undermine the rights of registered Democrats to choose their nominees for public office.”

“We firmly believe that every voter, regardless of party affiliation or independent status, should have the right to freely choose their preferred candidate,” the party’s statement said. “The current electoral system in the District ensures that no one is disenfranchised, providing ample choices for voters to engage with the political process and participate in the general election.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *