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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Unconventional Elections in America

2017 September 22

Did you know that you may have to vote again in your primary if no candidate gets more than half the votes? If not, you may want to find out if this applies to you.


For example, there’s been such a close race for Jeff Sessions’ vacant Senate seat in Alabama that the Republican primary in August did not determine a winner. A primary runoff between the top
two Republican candidates, Roy Moore and Luther Strange, is scheduled for September 26.

In over 115 races that Vote Smart has already tracked in 2017, we have encountered other unconventional election practices that voters may not be aware of. Earlier this month, Mississippi held a nonpartisan primary election for its State House Dist. 102 seat that will be determined by a runoff election in October.

Most Americans participate in a first-past-the-post system where winners in primaries and general elections are decided by a “plurality”—the candidate with the most votes wins. Several cities and states across the nation, however, have adopted alternative election methods. Read on for a brief explanation of the unique election practices that are currently used at the state and federal levels.


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Runoff Elections


Runoff elections are held when no candidate wins the simple majority (or more than half) of the votes. The National Conference of State Legislatures lists 10 states that use primary runoff elections—each with their own conditions for running them.



State:

Condition(s):

Runoff Date:

Alabama

No candidate wins a ...

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2014 National PCT Results Released

2014 October 29

Preferring to protect themselves from opposition research, only 20% of the 1282 candidates for Congress were willing to provide voters or media with direct answers to the issue questions on Vote Smart’s National Political Courage Test.

VoteEasy and PCT Results Released in New Hampshire

2014 October 27

Today, Vote Smart released the results of the National Political Courage Test to VoteEasy at VoteSmart.org, giving New Hampshire voters an invaluable resource for identifying their best political match November 4th. Fifty-one of the congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial candidates passed the 2014 Political Courage Test.

VoteEasy and PCT Results Released in Maine

2014 October 27

Today, Vote Smart released the results of the National Political Courage Test to VoteEasy at VoteSmart.org, giving Maine voters an invaluable resource for identifying their best political match November 4th. Twenty-three congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial candidates passed the 2014 Political Courage Test.

VoteEasy and PCT Results Released in Texas

2014 October 27

Today, Vote Smart released the results of the National Political Courage Test to VoteEasy at VoteSmart.org, giving Texas voters an invaluable resource for identifying their best political match November 4th. Forty-six of the congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial candidates passed the 2014 Political Courage Test.

VoteEasy and PCT Results Released in Massachusetts

2014 October 27

Today, Vote Smart released the results of the National Political Courage Test to VoteEasy at VoteSmart.org, giving Massachusetts voters an invaluable resource for identifying their best political match November 4th. Thirteen congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial candidates passed the 2014 Political Courage Test.
 

VoteEasy and PCT Results Released in New York

2014 October 27

Today, Vote Smart released the results of the National Political Courage Test to VoteEasy at VoteSmart.org, giving New York voters an invaluable resource for identifying their best political match November 4th. Eleven of the congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial candidates passed the 2014 Political Courage Test. 

VoteEasy and PCT Results Released in Minnesota

2014 October 27

 Today, Vote Smart released the results of the National Political Courage Test to VoteEasy at VoteSmart.org, giving Minnesota voters an invaluable resource for identifying their best political match November 4th. Thirty congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial candidates passed the 2014 Political Courage Test.
 

VoteEasy and PCT Results Released in Iowa

2014 October 27

Today, Vote Smart released the results of the National Political Courage Test to VoteEasy at VoteSmart.org, giving Iowa voters an invaluable resource for identifying their best political match November 4th. Eleven congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial candidates passed the 2014 Political Courage Test.

VoteEasy and PCT Results Released in South Carolina

2014 October 27

Today, Vote Smart released the results of the National Political Courage Test to VoteEasy at VoteSmart.org, giving South Carolina voters an invaluable resource for identifying their best political match November 4th. Eight of the congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial candidates passed the 2014 Political Courage Test.


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