By Jim Ellis
March 1, 2016 — Today is perhaps the most important day of the 2016 presidential nomination campaign as voters in 12 states and territories (11 for Republicans) visit the polls or caucus meetings to make their political selections.
Here’s what’s on tap:
Democrats apportion delegates through a straight proportional system in all 57 voting entities with no vote qualification threshold. The Super Delegates are certain elected officials and party leaders from the various states, who are free agents throughout convention voting. The regular delegates are bound by state law to vote as the people have at least on the first ballot. There appears to be no chance that the Democratic process goes beyond one ballot.
Below are the places voting today in order of delegate strength:
|STATE||TOTAL DELEGATES||SUPER DELEGATES|
It’s possible that Hillary Clinton could score in the 800 delegate range when today’s voting ends, pushing her over the 1,200 mark for the campaign. Such a lead would likely be insurmountable.
Republicans apportion much differently than Democrats, and are more state specific. The GOP does not have Super Delegates but, in most cases, the three party delegates from each voting entity are unbound — meaning free to vote as they choose on all ballots — at the national convention. On Super Tuesday, all party delegates except those from Georgia are unbound at the convention.
Delegates from Colorado, Guam, North Dakota, and Wyoming, will be unbound at the convention, as will four fifths of the Pennsylvania delegation. In all, 247 delegates will vote as they please on all ballots, thereby attaining at least “quasi” Super Delegate status.
The Republicans also install vote thresholds in order to qualify for delegate allocation. Therefore, today’s most important states are the five that require 20 percent of the vote to qualify for bound delegate votes.
Below are the states voting today, in delegate strength order:
|STATE||TOTAL DELEGATES||DELEGATE THRESHOLD|
A key observation point tonight is the delegate margin separating the candidates once voting concludes. After tomorrow, 728 Republican delegates will have been apportioned, inclusive of the party delegates. Therefore, a candidate would need to be near 364 for majority support. The winning candidate must secure 1,237 votes at the Republican National Convention.