Ranked Choice Voting

Ranked Choice Voting FAQ

Under the rules of the Utah Republican Party, when three or more candidates run for any election, the party can either use multiple rounds of balloting to eliminate candidates, or use what is commonly called ranked-choice voting (“RCV”). In past conventions, the party has used both methods. Because we have several races with a very large number of candidates, and we are using an online voting system, RCV is the most practical approach this year. You will have the ability to utilize your smartphone or tablet when you vote, and easily rank candidates from your first preference to the last with the software.

What is Ranked-Choice Voting, or RCV?

RCV allows a voter to rank multiple candidates in order of preference. Ballots are initially counted for each voter’s top choice. If that choice is eliminated, the voter’s second choice is counted and so on. Rankings are backup choices that never count against your top choice.

How does a candidate “win”?

RCV works like an instant runoff election. A candidate advances to the primary if they receive 60% or more of the delegates’ votes, whether in the first round of voting or in any subsequent round. If there are only two candidates left, and neither receives at least 60% of the vote, they both proceed to a primary.

I only like one candidate. What should I do?

You can certainly choose to only vote for one candidate, but you gain no advantage in doing so. If you only vote for one candidate and they are eliminated in a round of voting, and a subsequent round of voting takes place, it means that you have simply chosen not to cast a vote in that round.

How does the vote counting work?

If a candidate receives at least 60% of first choice rankings, then that candidate advances to the primary. If not, the instant runoff begins. The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, and the votes that were cast for that eliminated candidate are now counted in favor of the candidate ranked next on the ballot. This process repeats until either a candidate receives over 60% of the delegate votes and proceeds to the primary, or there are only two candidates left with neither receiving 60% of the delegate vote and both proceeding to the primary. With RCV, this entire process happens electronically and instantaneously, but otherwise is very similar to what happens when multiple round voting takes place in person.

Do I have to rank every candidate?

No. You can choose to not rank a candidate. However, not ranking other candidates does not give any extra “help” to your first choice.

What if I select the same candidate for every choice? Does that increase the “value” of the vote I am casting for that candidate?

No. It does not help a candidate if you only vote for them multiple times and no one else. If that particular candidate is eliminated after any round of voting, it simply means that you will not have a say in subsequent rounds.

What if there is a tie vote?

If the tie is between two last-place candidates, both candidates will be eliminated if their combined vote is less than the candidate with the next number of votes. Otherwise, ties are broken, per party rules, by a flip of a coin.

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