Home General "Other" Vote for U.S. House in 2012 was Approximately 3.3%, Even Though Many Fewer Districts Had "Other" Choices on Ballot, Compared to 2010
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"Other" Vote for U.S. House in 2012 was Approximately 3.3%, Even Though Many Fewer Districts Had "Other" Choices on Ballot, Compared to 2010

Published on December 24, 2012, by in General.

In November 2010, the percentage of voters who cast a vote for an independent or minor party for U.S. House was 3.28% of the total vote cast for U.S. House. The November 2012 percentage can’t be known exactly until the New York State Board of Elections reports the final vote, but it appears it was also 3.3%.

It is somewhat surprising that the “other” vote for U.S. House in 2012 didn’t decline substantially. In November 2010, there was a ballot-listed choice besides “Democrat” or “Republican” in 69% of the districts. But in November 2012, there was a ballot-listed choice other than “Democrat” or “Republican” in only 56% of the districts. The chief reason for the decline in U.S. districts with another choice is that, starting in 2012, California used the top-two system. Whereas 29 California districts in 2010 gave voters a choice other than the major parties, in 2012 only four districts gave voters such a choice.

Another reason for the decline between 2010 and 2012 is that Illinois had the Green Party on the ballot in 2010, but in 2012 there were no ballot-qualified minor parties in that state. Whereas Illinois had 13 districts with an “other” choice on the ballot in 2010, in 2012 there were only five such districts. Two Greens petitioned, and three independent candidates petitioned.

Extrapolating the 2012 data, one could conclude that if all U.S. House districts in 2012 had given voters an “other” choice on the ballot, the “other” vote in 2012 nationally would have been 5.8% of the total vote cast. For purposes of this blog post, the nation is considered to have 436 members of the U.S. House; the District of Columbia Delegate vote is included in all calculations. Also for purposes of these calculations, votes cast for minor parties are considered “other” votes, even if the minor party had cross-endorsed a major party nominee. Finally, write-in votes are excluded from the calculation, unless the write-in candidate was officially supported by a particular party and that particular party had no ballot-listed member on the ballot.

6 Responses

  1. Juan Jose Nolla

    Richard, if you include DC’s vote for a nonvoting Delegate, perhaps you should include the vote for Puerto Rico’s nonvoting Resident Commissioner. In Puerto Rico there were 4 candidates from minor parties, other than the two major parties. Those candidates got 3.71% of the vote (69,472 votes).

  2. :-)

    …or maybe people are starting to wake up from the bewitching sleep of two-party st@tist f@scist duopoly.

  3. #1, I thought about it, but there is a fundamental difference between DC and the overseas territories. For one thing, Puerto Rico elects its representative to the US House only every 4 years. Another is that Puerto Rico has ambiguous feelings about whether it is part of the US, whereas there is absolutely no doubt that DC is an integral part of the US, and of course DC has electoral votes.

  4. Demo Rep

    D.C. AIN’T a sovereign State in the Union.

    14th Amdt, Sec. 2 in the nearly dead U.S.A. Const.

    Const Amdt
    Uniform definition of Elector in ALL of the U.S.A.
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.
    Abolish the Senate
    Abolish the E.C.

    Then D.C. and the rest of the colonies will elect a Prez/VP and Reps.

    and even the Sun will continue to rise (unless a revised Mayan end of world calendar is found quickly).

  5. Demo Rep

    The *other* vote is only a bit important in the gerrymander districts with both a Donkey and an Elephant.

    How many of the gerrymander MONSTERS won with less than 55 percent of the district votes ??? —

    a mere safe 10 percent winning margin.

    Lowest 218 of 435 will have won with circa 30 percent of the votes —
    winner average about 60 percent x 1/2 gerrymander districts.
    —-
    P.R. and nonpartisan App.V.

    The EVIL of the various OLIGARCHS is now quite intolerable – national debt, undeclared wars, more and more welfare spending, etc.

  6. Slam In A Y-Trap

    “Other” vote is important in every district, just in different ways.

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