Skip to content

How ranked-choice vote went down, round by round, in Arlington

About 95% of voters still had a say by the time final showdown between Spain, Roy arrived

The ballots of just under 95 percent of Arlington voters were still in play during the final showdown between Democratic Arlington County Board candidates J.D. Spain Sr. and Natalie Roy, election figures show.

About 5.1 percent of those voting in the June 18 primary – 1,030 out of 20,338 – had exhausted their ballots by the time of the fourth and final ballot that saw Spain defeat Roy for the nomination.

Given that Arlington’s election equipment allows voters to rank up to three choices in a race, there were two ways those 1,030 voters could have found their ballots exhausted:

> They cast their ballot choosing (in any order) Julie Farnam, James Devita and Tenley Peterson, each of whom was eliminated before the fourth and final round.

> They chose fewer than three candidates, and Roy and Spain were not among their choices.

From round to round, things went this way:

• Farnam was eliminated in round one. Seventy-eight of the 1,267 ballots for her had no other choices, while Roy picked up 482 of her votes, Peterson 275, Spain 227 and DeVita 205.

• DeVita was eliminated in the second round after totaling 2,145 votes. A total of 264 of his voters (either directly or via Farnam) selected no further choices, while Roy picked up 1,118 of DeVita’s voters, Spain 443 and Peterson 320.

• Peterson, with 5,380 votes, was eliminated in round three. A total of 648 of her voters (either directly or via Farnam and/or DeVita) saw their ballots exhausted, with 3,348 of the remainder going to Spain and 1,384 going to Roy.

(There were an additional 40 votes out of the 20,338 cast that, for one reason or another, had no candidates validly chosen.)

Under the ranked-choice model used for this election, a candidate had to acquire 50 percent of the vote (plus one) of active ballots to be declared the victor. In the first round, the threshold was 10,150; by the fourth, with 1,030 ballots having been exhausted, it stood at 9,655. Spain finished with 10,565 to 8,743 for Roy.