Toscano proposes bill to allow voters to rank candidates

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Delegate David Toscano wants to allow cities and counties to change the way they elect their leaders.

PHOTO: Person filling out a ballot, Photo Date: August 15, 2016

Toscano, a Democrat who represents Virginia's 57th district, which includes Charlottesville and parts of Albemarle County, plans to introduce a bill that would allow ranked-choice voting.

That means voters would rank all of the candidates on the ballot, instead of just choosing one of them. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the first-place votes, then the count would look at second place votes.

Toscano said this method could make it easier for moderate candidates to win elections, because polarizing candidates would be unlikely to get second-place votes in elections with several candidates.

"It might make the campaigns less vitriolic," Toscano said, "because the people running against each other also want to be the second choice."

Toscano's bill would not make ranked-choice voting mandatory. It would allow localities to choose if they want to use it.

He said he also plans to introduce a bill that would prohibit campaign contributions from publicly-regulated utilities, like Dominion Energy. Dominion is one of the largest contributors to campaigns in Virginia. Toscano said he is concerned about the infusion of money into campaigns.

Toscano also said he plans to introduce a bill that would create a nonpartisan redistricting commission.

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