Vote Counting In Republican Nominating Convention Could Take Days

May 3, 2021

Republicans are getting ready for a multi-location convention, when they'll select their candidates for statewide office.

But don't expect results for a few days.

A political convention is usually a big party, with loud music and endless electioneering. This year's Republican convention, though, has been re-imagined because of the pandemic. Delegates will be meeting at 37 locations across the state on May 8.

Conservative analyst Matt Colt Hall says counting all the votes will probably take days.  "Those ballots are shipped in a sealed container to the state party, where they will be hand counted, one by one by one. And we will not have a result in this convention until maybe Monday or Tuesday after the convention."

The candidate who gets the most votes in the first round might not end up winning the nomination because of ranked choice voting.

Mark Rozell at George Mason University's Schar School says one very likely scenario is that Senator Amanda Chase could get the most votes in the first round. But, he says, she probably won’t get more than 50 percent. So the candidate with the fewest number of votes will be eliminated, and the number two choice of those voters will be distributed.  "Some believe that in a multi-candidate race, she could come out a nominee. But in a ranked-choice voting system, she would likely have no chance at all of winning the nomination," Rozell predicts.

The elimination rounds will continue until a candidate emerges with more than 50 percent of the vote, a process that could involve four or five rounds of eliminating candidates and distributing second votes until a candidate has broad-based support.

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