How does the Democratic Presidential Primary work in Virginia?

It’s likely multiple candidates will receive delegates from Virginians

ROANOKE, Va. – It’s been a few years since we last elected a president so we wanted to provide you with a refresher on this part of the process.

When it comes to Election Day in November, whichever candidate receives the most votes in Virginia receives all of our 13 electoral college votes; however, that is NOT how it works in the primaries.

When voters head to the polls on Super Tuesday what they are deciding is how Virginia’s 99 pledged delegates will vote at the Democratic National Convention in July.

[Your guide to voting in Virginia’s 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary election]

Those delegates can be awarded to any of the 14 people who will be on the ballot in Virginian.

While we’ll see 14 people on the ballot come Tuesday, only five of them still have active campaigns

Those six are Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard and Mike Bloomberg.

The key to getting pledged delegates is the all-important 15% threshold.

In order for a candidate to receive delegates, he or she must receive at least 15% of the popular vote in the primary.

Primary Example

To not be construed as having any sort of political bias, our scenario below uses an imaginary universe where Marvel and DC superheros live together and are running for president.

In this universe, we have seven people on our “Virginia” ballot with voters deciding who the 99 pledged delegates will support.

Peter Parker13,28132.77
Bruce Wayne11,70228.87
Natasha Romanoff9,80124,18
Tony Stark2,8547.04
Steve Rodgers1,9704.86
Clark Kent7991.97
Barbara Gordon1230.30

With only three candidates, Parker, Wayne and Romanoff, breaking the 15% threshold, we can now ignore the 5,746 votes cast for the other four candidates and reexamine our results.

Peter Parker13,28138.18
Bruce Wayne11,70233.64
Natasha Romanoff9,80128.18

Now, based upon the above percentages, we can distribute the delegates to the three candidates.

Peter Parker13,28138.1838
Bruce Wayne11,70233.6433
Natasha Romanoff9,80128.1828

Looking at the big picture, across the country, a candidate needs 1,991 delegates to secure the nomination.

We hope this helps you better understand the political system ahead of Super Tuesday.

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