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Republican Convention Voters Cast Ballots In Ranked Choice System

AP Photo/Steve Helber

Republican officials are adding up the convention votes cast in about 40 different polling places over the weekend.

Pandemic restrictions on mass gatherings, and the voting system the party used, mean it’s going to take several days to determine the GOP candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General.

Botetourt County delegate Bill Chambers wasn’t sure how long this was going to take. So the day before, he left his cattle some extra food and drove to the Salem Civic Center Saturday morning to be one of the first in line for curbside voting.

Chambers is hoping his fellow Republicans will accept the results of this unusual convention.  “If they want to win and they truly are believers in the Republican Party and the smaller government they should throw the full weight behind the candidates."

Indoors or out, delegates had to name not just their first choice in each race, but rank the remaining candidates. Some, like Bonita Bland of Salem, weren’t sure this ranked-choice system was the way to go.  “I really didn’t like putting a number by each person," Bland admitted.  "I just think you ought to be able to put down who you want and that’s it.”

But most thought it was worth trying, like David Oeltjen from Clifton Forge.  “I believe it’ll yield the right outcome though. A reasonable consensus that reflected what the conservative thinking people of Virginia feel.”

GOP delegates won’t know how things turn out for several days. Most indicated that if this so-called ‘unassembled’ convention picks conservative candidates who can assemble winning campaigns this fall, it will have turned out just fine.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.