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TEXT-IN TOPIC RESPONSES: Should Wyoming Implement a Run-Off Election System?

The Wyoming Republican Party showed support for run-off elections in a Facebook post on Monday, saying “A run-off assures that the prevailing candidate will best represent the values of the majority of Wyoming Republicans.”

The post summarized that because Wyoming is largely a republican majority state, quite often the winner of the Republican Primary Election goes on to win in the general election. The post states that “Often there are a number of people running in the Primary, so there have been many occasions when the winner of the Primary receives less than 50% of the vote, sometimes substantially less than 50%, which means that the Primary winner does not necessarily represent the majority’s values.”

The party argued that “Adopting a run-off approach would ensure that the winner of the Primary receives more than 50% of the vote in order to advance to the General Election.”

During the Weekday Wakeup on SVI Radio Tuesday morning, Duke & Dahl asked listeners what their opinion on the run-off election idea is. Did they support the suggestion floated by the Wyoming Republican Party, or not?

One example given during the show was the 2018 Gubernatorial Race in Wyoming, in which Republican Mark Gordon won. The ballet in the Primary included six candidates. Gordon won with 38,951 votes, or 33%. In second place was Foster Friess who finished with 29,842 votes, or 25.3%. A total of 118,101 votes were cast. In a run-off system, because Gordon did not collect at least 50% of the vote, he and Foster Friess would have run head to head after the Primary, with the winner advancing to the General election. With only a 9,109 vote difference between the two candidates in the primary, the final results could have been swayed in a run-off election by the remaining 58% of voters who voted for one of the other candidates that didn’t finish in the top two of the Primary. Or, even if Gordon had still captured the majority vote, he would have accumulated more the 50% in a two person run-off race.

Below are the listener responses on their opinions to the run-off election idea.

In Favor of Run-Off Election System

“Yes, run-off! 50% + 1, period. Make those incumbents, with all their advantages, squirm!”

“Anything that would give “we the people” a stronger voice could definitely be a plus.”

“Yes I agree when it’s close, 40-50 percent. I had the same thought especially when there were lots of candidates.”

“Yes yes yes. I have thought about the increased cost but the vote is more important. If the candidate did not get 50 percent of the vote a runoff is needed. Ones vote is more represented in a runoff.”

“In any race with multiple candidates, name recognition trumps everything else. (Yes, the pun is intentional.) A run-off can actually focus on qualifications.”

“I’m all for a run-off in the case of a close primary with at least three candidates.  Probably past due for Wyoming to do this.”

Not in Favor of Run-Off Election

“Ranked choice would avoid extra cost. It would be nice if we all were able to vote in primary elections regardless of political affiliation, and the two candidates with the most votes in the primary moved on to the general. It would stop the party switching problems as well and two people with a CHANCE would actually be on the general ballot.”

“As a lifelong republican I’m absolutely sick of the Wyoming Republican Party. It’s been hijacked by people from out of state on a power trip and doesn’t care about Wyoming or it’s people. This hair brained idea is yet another example of that. Where and when has a 50 perfect voter support been required to win an election in this country? Never. The majority vote wins. That’s how it works. The more voting laws are changed, the more diluted our vote gets. Get a clue Wyoming Republican Party. Better yet, go back to your home states and leave us alone!”

“Not in favor of a runoff system. Twice as expensive. In the general they will certainly get more than 50%. Leave it the way it is.”