Now that we have settled that Republicans will nominate our candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General at an unassembled convention, each Congressional district chair is working to establish where the delegates from units within his/her district will vote. The State Central Committee determined the maximum number of voting sites in each district with a total across the Commonwealth of up to 37 sites – which for financial and logistic reasons is probably too many.
The Sixth Congressional District (CD 6) was allocated up to four sites but is hosting only two. Instead, we are sharing a site with the Fifth District (CD 5) and sharing another site with the Ninth District (CD 9).
The plan calls for Amherst, Bedford, and Lynchburg to vote at Tree of Life Church in Campbell County, literally across the street from Lynchburg. Nine units from CD 5 will also vote there. Botetourt and Roanoke Counties and Roanoke City will vote at the Salem Civic Center with several units from CD 9. These are the locations where those units voted in last August’s unassembled convention.
We will have a new site this year in Shenandoah County. Page, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties will vote at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds.
All of our other units – Augusta, Bath, Harrisonburg, Highland, Rockingham, Staunton, and Waynesboro will vote at the Augusta County Government Center in Verona as they did last year. Rockbridge Area will vote at Verona this year rather than at Salem as they did last year.
There had been talk of Rockingham and Harrisonburg having their own site this year, but after consulting with both unit chairs, we determined that joining the other units in Verona was in their best interests.
Delegates can vote at their respective units’ assigned locations anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. – please don’t wait until the last minute – in an effort to spread the traffic out over the course of the day.
Each delegate will only need to vote one time because we will be using Ranked Choice Voting. I’ve had several questions about how Ranked Choice Voting works, and frankly it is easier to do than to explain. There are ten candidates for the GOP nomination for Governor, five candidates for the Lieutenant Governor nomination, and four candidates for the Attorney General nomination. A candidate will have to win a majority of the votes to become the nominee.
Let’s say you want candidate Donald Duck to be the Lieutenant Governor nominee. You place a 1 next to his name on the ballot. If Donald weren’t running, you would want R. R. Hood to win, so you place a 2 next to Ms. Hood’s name. Your third choice is Jack Sparrow, so you place a 3 by his name, then a 4 by the name of Wile E. Coyote, and either a 5 or no number next to your least favorite candidate. You likewise vote your choices for Governor and for Attorney General and turn your ballot in to be counted after all ballots have been cast.
The teller team will count all the ballots for your unit and determine how many #1 votes each candidate got for each office. If no candidate gets at least 50 percent plus one vote, then – and this is just by way of explanation since the rules of the convention have not yet been adopted – the teller committee would find which candidate got the fewest votes. And sad to say, because of his temper issues, your first choice, Donald Duck, got the fewest votes and is no longer in the running. Now the teller committee takes all of the ballots that marked Mr. Duck as their first choice and divides them out to the candidates who were marked as second choice on those ballots. Your ballot would go to Ms. Hood, since she was your number two choice. Then if no candidate has gotten at least 50 percent plus one votes, the Teller Committee again take the lowest vote getter still in the running and divide his/her votes out among the remaining candidates. In the second round of counting, Jack Sparrow’s shady past has cost him votes, but since he was not your number two choice Ms. Hood keeps your vote. However, since Ms. Hood is out of the running after the third round of balloting, Mr. Coyote would get your vote, since Mr. Sparrow has already been dropped in a previous round. The candidate in each race who gets 50 percent plus 1 vote (a majority) becomes the nominee.
As I said, it’s easier to do than explain. The important thing is that you sign up as a delegate and vote on May 8.
Steve “Doc” Troxel, Ph.D.