Virginia’s GOP-led Senate passed a bill Monday that would require candidates for statewide election and for the U.S. Senate to win the outright majority of votes on Election Day or else face a runoff with the second-highest vote-getter. Describing an election system similar to that of Louisiana, the legislation faces an uncertain future in the state’s Republican-controlled House, where a similar bill died in committee earlier this session. It also would have to be signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who was elected in 2013 after receiving less than 50 percent of the vote. The bill’s Senate patron said the measure would ensure that elected officials receive majority support, and comes after elections in 2013 and 2014 in which several Democratic candidates, including Sen. Mark Warner, were elected to office with less than the majority of the vote.
It passed on a 22-16 vote, with one Democrat joining all 21 Republicans in support. Two Democrats did not vote.
“This will allow us to have the [majority’s] opinion of who it is that they want to lead them,” said Sen. Charles W. Carrico Sr., Grayson Republican.
Sen. Adam Ebbin, Alexandria Democrat, asked why the bill was limited to statewide offices and did not include congressional representatives and members of the General Assembly.