Republicans in Virginia will be meeting on Saturday to pick their statewide nominees for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. The Republican Party of Virginia chose to hold an unassembled convention rather than a primary, meaning delegates, voters who registered to participate in the convention, will decide the nominees.
Conventions in Virginia typically take place with delegates meeting at a single location, but due to coronavirus restrictions, the party developed a new set of rules for 2021. Here’s a breakdown:
• The convention is taking place from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on May 8, 2021.
• Delegates will meet at 39 different locations across the state. Each delegate represents a voting unit and may only vote at the polling place assigned to his or her given voting unit.
• There are 125 voting units. These units mainly correspond with each of the state’s 95 counties and 38 independent cities.
• Over 53,000 delegates registered to participate in the convention, a record number.
• Delegate votes are weighted. The state party allocated a set number of votes to each voting unit, which will, in turn, be divided among the delegates assigned to that voting unit. For example, if the party allocated 100 votes to a unit and 100 delegates participate, each delegate would have one vote. If 200 delegates participate in that voting unit, each would have half a vote.
• The convention will use ranked-choice voting, an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots rather than voting for just one candidate. If one candidate wins a majority of voters’ first-preference votes, they win outright. Otherwise, the bottom-placing candidate is eliminated and their votes are distributed among their voters’ next choices. The process is repeated until one candidate wins a majority.
• This is the Republican Party of Virginia’s second election using ranked-choice voting. The party previously used the system to select its chairman in 2020. This will be the first time the state party uses the system in a candidate election.
• All ballots will be counted by hand. After the convention, the ballots will be delivered to a central location and counting will begin on Sunday. Party chairman Rich Anderson (R) said they are prepared to count until the following Thursday, but he expects counting to be finished by the following Tuesday.
Republicans last won a statewide race in Virginia in 2009, when Bob McDonnell (R) was elected governor. Virginia became a Democratic trifecta in 2019 after Democrats won control of both the state House and Senate.
To learn more about the 2021 convention process in Virginia, click here: https://ballotpedia.org/Virginia_gubernatorial_election,_2021_(May_8_Republican_convention)#Conventions_in_Virginia_.282021.29
Learn more about the races up for election on Saturday using the links below: