Election Math: How 116 votes is equal to 73?

Although Bernie Sanders won the popular vote in the Iowa caucuses with 45,826 votes, compared to Pete Buttigieg’s 43,195, Buttigieg won more state delegates.

Final DNC party’s numbers show that Buttigieg gets 564 state delegates, while Sanders will receive 562, and some are wondering what is the math behind these numbers.

Shawn Sebastian, the caucus secretary for Story County Precinct 1-1 in Iowa revealed the math behind his precinct’s results, which is very revealing for the overall results of the election.

Bernie Sanders received 111 votes in his precinct, while Pete Buttigieg got 47 votes.

Both in the end got two delegates.

Kenny Kelly, writer for the Beyondtheboxscore.com explains how this works.

In the caucus, voters proclaim one candidate for whom they will cast their vote. A first count is then taken and any candidate who did not receive at least 15 percent of the vote is considered unviable.

At this point, all those who voted for an unviable candidate (and any who decide to change their vote) must re-align themselves with another, viable candidate.

In this case, unviable votes were 36 for Klobuchar, 17 for Yang, 4 for Steyer, 2 for Biden and 1 undecided vote.

These voters had the chance to re-align their votes, so in the end, after the second alignment, Bernie Sanders received 116 votes of what was originally a pool of 285 voters while Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg got 82 and 73 votes respectively.

To decide how many delegates are awarded to each candidate, their total number of votes after re-alignment is multiplied by the number of delegates available and then divided by the total number of votes.

In this case Bernie’s 116 votes was multiplied by six (number of delegates), same as Warren’s 82 and Buttigieg’s 73.

After this step, Sanders had the number 696 which was then divided by 285 (the total number of votes).

Warren’s number (492) was also divided by 285, just like Buttigieg’s 438 was also divided by a pool of 285 voters.

After this mathematical operation, Sanders got a number 2,44.

Warren got a number 1,72.

Buttigieg got 1,53.

These quotients were then rounded to the nearest whole number since partial delegates are not possible –   Sanders can’t have 2,44 delegates so his number is rounded and he gets two delegates.

Warren’s is also rounded to two, same as Buttigieg’s, although he barely passed the mark.

And this is the convoluted math behind The Iowa Caucus.

Not to mention that in some cases of ambiguity, coin flips decide how delegates are awarded.


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