Case Study: 2004 Utah GOP Convention
The Utah GOP uses ranked choice voting when no candidates receive more than 60% of the vote. At the Utah GOP convention in 2004, neither of the finalists accrued more than 60% support. The Utah GOP election procedure required a statewide primary to choose a party nominee.
On May 8, 2004, the Utah GOP used ranked choice voting to determine the gubernatorial candidate.
A Voice in the Final Round
With ranked choice voting, 97% of voters had their vote counted in the final round. Of the 3,428 voters who cast valid votes in the first round, fully 3,329 had their vote count in the final round after the elimination of the six remaining candidates. Even though a voter's first candidate may have been eliminated, the voter's second or third choices were included in subsequent rounds. Their vote counted all the way to the final round.
2nd and 3rd Choice Votes Count
In reviewing the final election results, you can see how second and third votes impacted the final round. Even though Karras started the first round with 352 votes fewer than Huntsman, by the final round there was only a difference of 85 votes between the two candidates. In the end, Jon Huntsman defeated Nolan Karras, but it was a close race.
2004 Utah GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Primary
|Candidate||Rnd 1||Rnd 2||Rnd 3||Rnd 4||Rnd 5||Rnd 6||Rnd 7||Rnd 8||Total|
|Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.||959||+15||+64||+127||+151||+391||1,707||51.3%|
|James V. Hansen||278||+1||+18||-297||0|
|Olene S. Walker||495||+2||+39||+13||-549||0|
|Total Active Votes||3,428||3,329|
Ranked Choice Voting's Potential for Increased Civility
Second and third votes have the power to impact final election results. Candidates will be less likely to attack opponents if that means losing second and third choice votes. Candidates will need to run more issue-centered campaigns to appeal to more voters.