Presidential Delegate Math

To help demystify the delegate apportionment process, you can see the process for how we determine who gets delegates from a primary. We like to be as transparent as possible here at CDP, so follow along to understand the process.

Let’s say we’ve got 5 candidates in an election: Bob, Jane, Emily, Sam, and Dave. They’re all running for president in Colorado. They’re competing for 30 delegates. On primary election day, we get the following results:

CandidateVote Total% of Vote
Bob123415.444%
Jane567871.063%
Emily91011.389%
Sam1231.539%
Dave450.563%
Total7,990100%

First, we have to determine who has made threshold. In our primary elections, a candidate must achieve 15% of the vote. After determining percentages, we can see that Emily, Sam, and Dave didn’t make the cut. Unfortunately for their campaigns, there will be no delegates awarded to them.

Now that we’ve eliminated some candidates, we’re left with Bob and Jane. In order to determine apportionment of the 30 delegates, we need to now determine the percentage of the vote each candidate got based on the total number of votes for candidates who won delegates only. So now our results look like this:

CandidateVotesTotal
Bob123417.853%
Jane567882.147%
Total6912100%

We have our new percentages for each candidate, but we’ll need to turn those into decimals. Bob’s number is .17853, and Jane’s is .82147. We then take those numbers and multiply each by the number of available delegates, so 30. Here’s what that math comes out to:

Candidate% to DecimalMultiply by 30 DelegatesResult
Bob.17853x 305.355
Jane.82147x 3024.644

So we have 30 delegates to award. We will give one delegate for each whole number from our calculation. Bob receives 5 delegates, and Jane receives 24 for a total of 29 delegates.

But wait! What happens to that last delegate? Our rules indicate that any remaining delegates are awarded based upon whichever decimal is closest to the next whole number. In this case, Jane will receive the extra delegate since her decimal (.644) is closer to the next whole number than Bob’s. As a result, Jane now has 25 delegates and Bob gets 5.

Now the you all understand the math process, you can follow along as we calculate our national delegate allocations. See everybody on Super Tuesday!