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DC Appleseed Center

For Law and Justice

DC Voter Representation Convening

DC Appleseed aims to analyze DC’s crowded primaries and split elections. Our goal is to increase the number of local races resulting in a clear majority and democratic mandate for elected officials while reducing existing racial and economic disparities in voter turnout.

To ensure we examine the most viable options for DC and to begin building broad consensus and buy-in among stakeholders, DC Appleseed is holding a convening to determine the best three to five potential options for DC for further research and analysis.

Note: DC Appleseed is non-partisan and independent. We do not have a position nor do we endorse any currently pending legislations or initiatives related to DC elections.

To Register For The Convening, Click HERE

Keynote Speaker:

Maya Wiley, President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

Lisa Rice, Make All Votes Count DC  

Professor Brian McCabe, Georgetown University Center for Social Justice 

Charles Wilson, DC Democratic Party  

Lee Drutman, New America Political Reform Program 

Deb Otis, Fair Vote 

Chris Raleigh, The Center for Election Science  

Note: Additional speakers will be confirmed prior to the event. 

  • We invite local and national election advocacy groups, academics, and DC residents of all backgrounds to participate in this event.

  • Prior to the convening, we will ask participants to submit an array of potential "solutions" for consideration.

  • Through a series of panel discussions during the convening, we will narrow many possible solutions to just several.



While DC has always been a heavily Democratic city, the party now routinely receives more than 90% of the votes in the presidential elections. In most DC races, the winner of the Democratic primary is the de facto winner of the general election, but that outcome is decided with only a small number of eligible voters participating (22.4% in the 2022 primaries) and no input from DC’s Republican or independent voters.

One critical exception to primaries being the key vote is DC’s At-Large races. Section 401 of the Home Rule Act (“Charter”) states that no more than two of the four At-Large seats on the Council (excluding the seat held by the Chairperson) may be of the same majority political party. As a result, DC’s elections are split with most of the races decided in the primary, and the race for the one independent seat on the Council that is elected every two years being decided in November.

An increased number of candidates (due in part to public campaign finance) means local officials often win their elections with a small plurality versus a majority of votes.


In recent years, many jurisdictions considered and implemented electoral reform, examining the rules of their political system and finding ways to ensure those rules support effective, representative government and broad democratic participation. Local electoral rules determine how officials are selected: which candidates and political parties can compete and how voters are allowed to choose between them.

Nearly unlimited options for improving DC’s elections exist. Some potential options include:

  • Instituting rank-choice voting.

  • Holding non-partisan primaries (open primaries), with the top two (or three) finishers advancing to the general election;

  • Holding runoff primary elections between the top two vote-getters if no candidate receives an absolute majority; or

  • Eliminate the limitation in DC’s Home Rule Act on the number of At-Large seats that a political party may hold.


After the convening, DC Appleseed will conduct more detailed research and analysis of the selected reforms. We plan to publicly release a report on potential electoral reforms for DC in 2024.


Thank You to Our Partners

Saturday, September 30

10:00 am-1:00 pm

To View The Live Stream, Click HERE




University of District of Columbia Student Center

Ballroom 113

4200 Connecticut Ave NW


Please note: The UDC Student Center is located at the corner of

Connecticut Ave NW and Van Ness Ave, NW.

(Directions, parking, and public transportation information

is available at


Learn More About DC Appleseed's Voter Representation Project HERE

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