Voices & Choices

Ranked Choice Voting Earns High Marks from Utah Republicans

Ranked Choice Voting Earns High Marks from Utah Republicans

A new poll of delegates to the Utah Republican Convention shows overwhelming support for ranked choice voting.

As previously reported by FairVote, both major parties in Utah brought ranked choice voting to their party conventions for the first time. The Utah GOP conducted a post-convention poll of delegates and found the following:

Delegates were overwhelmingly pleased with the changes. When asked to rate their overall experience with this year’s convention, 90% of respondents reported feeling “Very Satisfied” or “Satisfied”. 

Figure 1: Overall experience with the 2020 Utah Republican Party State Convention

The survey also asked participants whether they prefer ranked choice voting to the previous voting method. At past conventions, delegates voted over a series of rounds until one candidate earned more than 60% of the votes, or until only two candidates remained. This year, delegates submitted their ranked preferences all at once, knowing that if their top choice finished in last place and got eliminated, their vote would count for their next choice. In this way, the rounds of voting became an “instant runoff”. 

The survey asked if respondents prefer ranked choice voting or multiple rounds of voting. 72% of voters said they prefer ranked choice voting, compared to only 21% who prefer multiple rounds and 6% who have no preference. 

Figure 2: Preference for ranked choice voting

Respondents from every age group below prefer ranked choice voting, including older voters.

Figure 3: Preference for ranked choice voting by age

In addition, support for ranked choice voting remained strong among veteran delegates and new delegates alike. Their support indicates that ranked choice voting has proven to be straightforward for delegates to adopt, even for delegates who were used to different election systems.

Figure 4: Preference for ranked choice voting among new and experienced delegates

Ranked choice voting was one part of the package of reforms implemented at the Utah Republican Convention this year, many of them in response to the need to meet virtually in the age of social distancing. However, the strong positive response to RCV, including the desire for its use at future conventions, shows that this reform has staying power. The Utah Republican convention can serve as an example for state party leaders across the country who are ready to modernize their conventions with ranked choice voting.


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