Breaking down Richmond’s mayoral race

It’s much more like an electoral college than popular vote

Breaking down Richmond’s mayoral race

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Those voting in Richmond will be selecting the city’s next mayor. It’s a unique and often confusing process that acts more like an electoral college.

Levar Stoney is running for reelection against four other candidates: Kim Gray, Justin Griffin, Tracey McLean and Alexsis Rodgers. - Click on their names to read more about them.

Basically, watching the popular vote on election night, won’t help you understand who’s winning the mayoral race in the city of Richmond.

You have to pay attention to each district. There are nine districts in this city.

To be mayor, you have to win five of the city’s nine districts. So, the person who receives the most votes city-wide doesn’t necessarily win.

Here’s a reminder about who’s in the race: Levar Stoney is running for reelection against four other candidates - Kim Gray, Justin Griffin, Tracey McLean and Alexsis Rodgers - Click on their names to read more about them.

The city voted to hold elections this way in a 2003 referendum. This system was created to level the playing field and make sure one section of the city doesn’t dominate elections.

Since its creation in 2003, one candidate has always managed to win five districts in the general election. So, what happens if someone doesn’t win five districts? Then it gets really complicated, and the city-wide popular vote now comes into play.

A runoff election is held between the two candidates with the most votes. In the runoff, the same rules apply as in the general election. One candidate must win five of the nine districts to win the election.

According to the city’s charter, the runoff election must be held on the sixth Tuesday after the general election. Which would be Dec. 15, again, only if necessary.

If you see someone win five of the nine districts Tuesday night, that person will be Richmond’s mayor.

Rachel DePompa will be tracking this race and many more for you all night from our 12 News Now desk, which will be streaming everywhere such as Facebook, the NBC12 news app, and NBC12′s apps on Roku, Amazon Fire and AppleTV.

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