The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Active ballot" means a ballot that counts toward an active candidate in the current round of counting.
"Continuing candidate" means a candidate who has not been eliminated during a round-by-round vote count. In a count that lasts multiple rounds, the number of active candidates will decrease with each round.
"Defective ranking" means a voter assigned more than one candidate the same ranking.
"Duplicate ranking" means a voter has assigned one candidate multiple rankings.
"Election threshold" means the percentage of votes a candidate must receive to guarantee to win a seat or remain within the election.
"Eliminated candidate" means a candidate who has been eliminated during the round-by-round vote count.
"Exhausted ballot" means a ballot that can no longer be counted due to the ballot having no continuing candidates in the round.
"Instant runoff voting" means no more than one seat in the office must be filled by the election.
"Ranked choice voting" means method of voting that permits voters to rank their preference for candidates. Ranked choice voting is also known as instant runoff voting.
"Ranking" means the number preference a voter determines for a candidate.
"Round" means a stage of the vote tabulation in which a candidate may be elected or eliminated.
"Single transferable vote" means more than one seat in the office must be filled by the election.
"Skipped ranking" means a voter has left at least one ranking order unassigned but ranks a candidate at a subsequent ranking order.
"Surplus vote" means the number of votes a candidate receives beyond the minimum needed in order to receive a seat in a single transferable vote race.
"Inclusive Gregory Method of Reallocation" means vote counts are transferred fractionally. When a candidate wins a seat, votes for that candidate are reweighted, multiplying their current weight by the quotient of their surplus vote divided by their total vote.
The Department of Elections shall publish on the department website, https://www.elections.virginia.gov, instructions on the administration of ranked choice voting elections.
As prescribed by § 24.2-673.1 of the Code of Virginia, a county board of supervisors or city council may elect by majority to conduct an election for its members by ranked choice voting. The adoption for ranked choice voting shall only be valid for the election specified in the ordinance signed by the governing body.
1. Adoption to conduct an election by ranked choice voting must be enacted no later than 90 days prior to the date of the specified election.
2. Any locality that adopts to conduct an election by ranked choice voting must electronically transfer the signed ordinance to the Department of Elections promptly.
3. No ranked choice voting may be conducted for a primary with fewer than three candidates.
4. Notwithstanding § 24.2-613 E of the Code of Virginia, all ballot forms for an election conducted by ranked choice voting shall comply with the standards prescribed by the State Board of Elections.
As prescribed by § 24.2-673.1 of the Code of Virginia, ballots shall be tabulated in the following manner:
1. Defective rankings.
a. A ballot with a defective ranking shall be counted in the initial round if voter intent can be determined. The ballot shall not be counted in any round in which the ballot has a defective ranking.
b. A ballot with a duplicate ranking shall be counted unless the voter's choice was eliminated.
c. In the event of a ballot with a skipped ranking, the next valid ranking shall be counted.
2. Tie breaking. All candidates with the fewest number of votes at the end of a round shall be eliminated from the election.
Vote reallocation will be conducted with the Inclusive Gregory Method of Reallocation.
For the purposes of this section, "paper ballot" means a tangible ballot that is marked by a voter and must be manually counted.
In the event the general registrar receives a ballot that cannot be read by the ballot scanner machine, the general registrar or election official shall transpose the voter's intent to a machine readable ballot.
Results for all rounds must be publicly posted on the Department of Elections website at https://www.elections.virginia.gov.
A. For the purposes of this section, "educational information" means nonpartisan information that in plain language informs the public on the adoption of ranked choice voting for an election, a description of ranked choice voting, an unmarked official sample ranked choice voting ballot, and instructions on how to read and mark the ballot.
B. The Department of Elections shall be required to post educational information about ranked choice voting on its website at https://www.elections.virginia.gov for the public.
C. Any county board of supervisors or city council that adopts to conduct an election by ranked choice voting shall develop and distribute educational information about ranked choice voting no later than 60 days before the specified election.
1. Educational information must be disseminated to the public through circulation in the local newspaper, posted on the locality's website, or mailed to active and inactive voters eligible to vote in the specified election.
2. Educational information must be posted in the office of the general registrar and made available for distribution if requested by the public.
3. Educational information about ranked choice voting shall be posted in each satellite office and polling place operating for the election.