Ranked Choice Voting Primer

by 1St Congressional District Chair

Bob Watson

 

 

Delegates,


The chairman’s race will be decided by Ranked Choice Voting (RCV), which provides for an “instant run-off” if
one candidate does not achieve a majority when the votes are counted.

 

Here’s how RCV works:
Voters pick a first-choice candidate and have the option to rank backup candidates in order of
their choice: second, third in this case. If a candidate receives more than half of the first
choices, that candidate wins, just like in any other election. However, if there is no majority
winner after counting first choices, the race is decided by an "instant runoff." The candidate
with the fewest votes is eliminated, and voters who picked that candidate as ‘number 1’ will
have their votes count for their next choice. This process continues until a candidate wins with
more than half of the votes.


To ensure your vote counts in an “instant runoff” in the chairman’s race, it is imperative that you
rank choice all three candidates. If you only vote for one candidate, your ballot may not be
counted in the “instant runoff” round of counting depending upon who you picked and which
candidate was eliminated.

 

Examples:
Candidates Smith, Jones, and Johnson are running for election.

 

Scenario 1: You want Johnson, so you rank choice Johnson as your #1 pick, followed by Smith,
and then Jones. After the votes are counted, no candidate has a majority, and Johnson comes in
3rd.

He is eliminated from the race. On the second round of counting the ballots, your #2 pick
Smith is now counted as your vote.


Scenario 2: You want Johnson, so you rank choice Johnson as your #1 pick without listing a #2
and #3 choice. After the votes are counted, no candidate has a majority, and Johnson comes in
3rd.

He is eliminated from the race. Since you did not list a #2 candidate, you no longer have a
vote in the “instant runoff.” Your least favorite candidate Jones is now in a runoff with Smith.
The delegates who listed Jones as #1 or #2 still have their votes in play, which is an advantage
over delegates whose votes are no longer being counted because they only selected one
candidate.


So if you don’t rank choice at least your first two choices, you risk “losing your vote” during the
“instant runoff” if your first choice is eliminated. This can give your least favorite candidate an
advantage in the “instant runoff” process.


For more information and a video that explains RCV, please go to this WEBSITE:

See you at the convention!
Bob Watson
Chairman, 1st District

Reach out for all things Republican in Virginia...If I don't have the answer I can get it.

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