FACTSHEET

PLURALITY ELECTIONS AND MAJORITY ELECTIONS

 

PLURALITY ELECTIONS

 

Plurality is defined as:

 

“The number of votes cast for a candidate who obtains the greatest number of votes, though not a majority, in a contest of more than two candidates.”

 

Thus, in the elections that are decided by plurality, the candidate who receives the most votes wins the election. In this type of election, the candidate does not need a certain percentage of the votes to be elected.

 

Federal and state contests that appear on the primary and general election ballot are decided by plurality, see “Notes” below. City/county contests that appear on the general ballot are decided by plurality.

 

MAJORITY ELECTIONS

 

Majority is defined as:

 

“At least 50% of the votes plus one or a number greater than half of the total votes cast.”

 

Examples in Hawaii elections: For the County of Hawaii and the City & County of Honolulu, races for mayor, prosecuting attorney, and council a winner is declared when a candidate receives a majority of the votes (50 percent plus one) in the primary election.

 

Note: The calculation of a majority for city/county offices excludes blank ballots and over votes. See Attachment A below.

 

If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, the two candidates that received the highest number of votes move on to the general election, where a winner is then determined by who receives the most votes (plurality).

 

NOTES

 

·         Some seats in the Office of Hawaiian Affairs can be decided by plurality and majority. See FACTSHEET “Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees.”

 

 

·         In Maui and Kauai county elections, candidates do not win outright by receiving a majority of votes in the primary. The two candidates that received the highest number of votes in the primary election will move on to the general election.

 

Attachment A

 

Calculating a majority for either the County of Hawaii or the City and County of Honolulu

 

 

Results of the First Special Election.

 

 

Candidate A........................... 300

Candidate B........................... 100

Candidate C........................... 150

Blank Votes............................ 101

Over Votes.............................. 159

Total (sum).............................. 810

 

Step 1: Add the votes cast for each candidate.

 

Candidate A........................... 300

Candidate B........................... 100

Candidate C........................... 150

Total (sum).............................. 550

 

Step 2: Divide the sum of the votes cast by two.

 

550 ÷ 2 = 275

 

Step 3: Add one to the result from Step 2.

 

275 + 1 = 276 votes required

 

RESULT: Candidate A wins the First Special Election by a majority of votes cast. A Second Special Election will not be held.

 

NOTE:          The percentage figures appearing in the results include "blank votes" and "over votes" which are not included in the calculation of a majority.

 

 

 

 

This Factsheet is intended for informational purposes and should not be construed to constitute legal advice or authority.  Readers should consult the most current version of the Hawaii Revised Statutes and other sources for a complete and legal basis of the law or seek assistance from a licensed private attorney.

 

Office of Elections
802 Lehua Avenue
Pearl City, Hawaii 96782
Phone: 808-453-VOTE(8683)
Neighbor Island Toll Free: 1-800-442-VOTE(8683)

TTY:  808-453-6150

Internet: www.hawaii.gov/elections

 

 

Office of Elections – FSBO131D

Rev. 07/29/13