School Board Caucus
VOTE BY MAIL FOR THE KIDS! To select the two candidates for Arlington School Board who will receive the Democratic endorsement in 2020, Arlington Dems is conducting a vote-by-mail caucus.
This change from the traditional in-person caucus process is necessitated by the current public health crisis. The impact of COVID-19 on our community remains uncertain, and timelines for peak medical impact, social distancing, and other repercussions are still unknown. Protecting the health of our voters, our volunteers, and our candidates is our top priority. As a result, this year’s School Board Caucus will be vote-by-mail only.
How to Vote
From April 7 to May 7, Arlington registered voters could request a ballot by (a) completing and submitting an online ballot request form or (b) downloading and mailing a PDF version of the ballot request form (forma español). (We also are happy to provide a hardcopy printout of the ballot request form to anyone who needs one.) Use of the online ballot request form is strongly encouraged. Ballot requests must be have been received by Arlington Dems by May 7.
Upon verifying the registered voter status of a ballot requester, Arlington Dems will issue a ballot to each voter. Ballots will be mailed on a rolling basis. Each ballot mailing will include a self-addressed stamped envelope for return of the completed ballot to a dedicated P.O. box. Voters are encouraged to immediately complete and return their ballots to ensure timely delivery. Ballots must be received (not postmarked) by Arlington Dems by May 30.
How to Complete Your Ballot
Arlington Dems is using Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) for the School Board Caucus. We adopted this system, used in many jurisdictions around the country and around the world, to ensure that the caucus winners represent a majority of those voting -- rather than representing a small percentage of voters, which often happens in traditional voting when there is a large number of candidates. Arlington Dems has used IRV since 2014 in caucuses with more than two candidates per slot.
Under the IRV method, voters rank the candidates in numerical order from 1 to 5 on their ballots. You should mark "1" next to the name of your first choice candidate, "2" for your second choice and so on. To ensure that your vote is counted accurately, it is important that you limit marks on your ballot to the numbers 1 through 5. Use of a checkmark or an “X” could result in your vote not being counted if your intention cannot be readily understood.
It is important to note that you cannot hurt your first choice candidate by ranking additional candidates on your ballot. In addition, by ranking additional candidates (2,3,4, etc), you actually strengthen the ultimate impact of your vote. Your ballot stays with your first choice candidate until that candidate is eliminated from the count. At that point, your vote continues to be counted -- it will go to your second choice candidate and so on.
How to Choose Your Preferred Candidates
It’s entirely up to you! Arlington Dems encourage all voters to learn more about the five candidates seeking the Democratic endorsement:
How to Mail Your Ballot
The 2020 Arlington Democrats School Board Caucus uses a vote-by-mail process for the submission of ballots. Each completed ballot must be sealed in a stamped envelope addressed to the Arlington Democrats’ dedicated PO Box for the School Board Caucus (i.e., Arlington Democrats, P.O. Box 40010, Arlington, VA 22204). There are two ways to submit completed ballots using the U.S. Postal Service (USPS):
- For ballots submitted prior to May 23, 2020, voters should place their ballot in any USPS mail dropbox (e.g., blue mailboxes on street corners) for delivery by a postal worker to the Arlington Democrats’ dedicated PO Box for the School Board Caucus.
- For ballots submitted on or after May 23, 2020, to ensure on-time delivery by the close of the School Board Caucus, voters have the option to hand-carry their ballots to the South Glebe Post Office for delivery by a postal worker to the Arlington Democrats’ dedicated PO Box for the School Board Caucus. More information about this option is available in this guidance document.
How Your Ballot Will Be Counted
Arlington Dems will begin counting ballots on May 31 or as soon as practicable thereafter. The counting process is expected to take several days to account for social distancing requirements and election integrity measures. Arlington Dems will use a process to anonymize ballots during the ballot counting, which will be conducted using a virtual procedure.
Under the IRV method, if one candidate receives more than 50% of the 1st choice votes, that candidate will receive the first Arlington Dems endorsement. If not, the candidate with the fewest number of 1st choice votes will be eliminated and each of his/her ballots will be redistributed to the candidate listed as the 2nd choice on that ballot. The ballots will be counted again, and the process will continue until one candidate receives more than 50% of the ballots. That candidate then will receive the first Arlington Democrats endorsement. Once the first endorsee is identified, each of his/her ballots will be redistributed to the candidate listed as the 2nd choice on that ballot. The ballots will be counted again, and the process will continue until one candidate receives more than 50% of the ballots. That candidate then will receive the second Arlington Dems endorsement.
Arlington Dems expect to be able to announce the caucus results by June 9. The announcement will be made using several communications channels, including the homepage of the Arlington Dems web site.
How to Find More Information
- Read the Frequently Asked Questions
- Read the April 7, 2020 Press Release (en español) and the April 13, 2020 Press Release
- Watch the debate from the March monthly membership meeting
- Watch the Arlington Young Democrats School Board Town Hall (no Facebook account required)
- Questions? Contact email SBCaucus@arlingtondemocrats.org or call 703-528-8588 ext. 4.
*Please note that, in Virginia, it is not legally possible to designate a partisan candidate for a school board race using a government-run primary. Because a primary is not available under Virginia law, Arlington Democrats use a Party-run caucus process to identify Democratic candidates in Arlington School Board races.