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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 1. Administration
Agency 20. State Board of Elections
Chapter 100. Ranked Choice Voting
9/29/2023

1VAC20-100-10. Definitions.

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.

"Active candidate" means a candidate or person who has not been defeated during a round-by-round vote count. In a count that lasts multiple rounds, the number of active candidates will decrease with each round.

"Duplicate ranking" means a voter has assigned one candidate multiple rankings.

"Election threshold" means the number of votes sufficient for a candidate to be elected in a multi-winner, single transferable vote contest, except in the first-choice ranking tabulation round. The election threshold equals the total valid votes cast for active candidates in the first round of tabulation, pursuant to 1VAC20-100-50 C, divided by the sum of one plus the number of offices to be filled, then adding one, disregarding any fractions. Election threshold = ((Total valid votes cast for active candidates in the first round)/(Seats to be elected+1))+1, with any fraction disregarded.

"First-choice ranking tabulation round" means the stage of tabulation of first-choice rankings completed at each precinct on the voting system, pursuant to 1VAC20-100-50 A.

"Highest-ranked active candidate" means the active candidate assigned to a higher ranking than any other active candidates.

"Inactive ballot" means a ballot that can no longer be counted due to the ballot having no rankings remaining for active candidates.

"Instant runoff voting" means no more than one seat in the office must be filled by the election.

"Maximum possible threshold" means the number of first-choice rankings from active ballots received in the first-choice ranking tabulation round sufficient for a candidate to be elected. The maximum possible threshold equals the total ballots cast for the office, including valid first-choice rankings, undervotes, skipped rankings, or overvotes for the office, divided by the sum of one plus the number of offices to be filled, then adding one, disregarding any fractions. Maximum possible threshold = ((Total ballots cast for the office)/(Seats to be elected+1))+1, with any fraction disregarded.

"Ranked choice overvote" means a voter assigned more than one candidate the same ranking.

"Ranked choice undervote" means a voter has left a ranking unassigned.

"Ranked choice voting" means a method of casting and tabulating votes in which (i) voters rank candidates in order of preference; (ii) tabulation of first-choice rankings and votes cast at other rankings is conducted; (iii) if the number of candidates elected after first-choice ranking tabulation is less than the number of offices to be filled, tabulation proceeds in rounds such that in each round either a candidate is elected or the last-place candidate is defeated; (iv) votes for voters' next-ranked candidates are transferred from elected or defeated candidates; and (v) tabulation ends when the number of candidates elected equals the number of offices to be filled. Ranked choice voting is known as "instant runoff voting" when electing a single office and "single transferable vote" when electing multiple offices.

"Ranking" means the ordinal number assigned on a ballot to a candidate to express the voter's preference for that candidate. Ranking number one is the highest ranking, ranking number two is the next-highest ranking, and so on, consecutively, up to the number of candidates indicated on the ballot.

"Round" means a stage of the vote tabulation, pursuant to 1VAC20-100-50 B or C, in which a person may be elected or the last ranked person defeated.

"Single transferable vote" means more than one seat in the office must be filled by the election.

"Skipped ranking" means an undervote on a ballot where a voter validly ranks a candidate at a subsequent ranking treated as provided in subdivision 2 of 1VAC20-100-40.

"Surplus fraction" is a number equal to the quotient of the difference between an elected candidate's vote total and the election threshold, divided by the candidate's vote total, (or (V-T)/V, in which "V" is the elected candidate's vote total and "T" is the election threshold), truncated after four decimal places.

"Surplus vote" means the number of votes a candidate receives beyond the election threshold set for a single transferable vote race.

"Tabulation" means the counting and, where necessary, transferring of votes cast in a ranked choice voting election that occurs in two stages:

1. Determination by voting system in the first-choice ranking tabulation round of first-choice ranking votes cast for each candidate and the creation of a record of votes cast at all ranking choices for each ballot cast.

2. Determination in a round, using the record of votes cast created by the voting system in the first-choice ranking tabulation round, of the votes to be transferred from eliminated candidates to active candidates, of the vote totals for active candidates after vote transfers, and of whether a candidate has received the number of votes sufficient to be elected.

"Transfer value" means the proportion of a vote that a ballot will contribute to its highest-ranked active candidate. Each ballot begins with a transfer value of one. If a ballot contributes to the election of a candidate under 1VAC20-100-50 C, it receives a new transfer value.

Statutory Authority

§ 24.2-673.1 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 38, Issue 9, eff. December 3, 2021; amended Virginia Register Volume 39, Issue 23, eff. June 20, 2023.

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