What if there are more than two candidates in my race?

March 12, 2013
In order to make sure your campaign’s resources are used in the most efficient and effective way possible, we use targeting. The idea of your win number is pretty simple: it’s how many votes you need to win, and targeting starts with knowing this basic, but vital, number.
Calculating your race’s win number with multiple candidates is trickier than if the race has only two candidates. In multiple-candidate races, you will likely not need to get 50% of the vote. However, what plurality of the vote you need will depend on a number of factors including:
  • The number of candidates
  • The competitiveness of the campaign
  • Whether it is multiple candidates vying for one seat or multiple candidates vying for multiple seats.

Calculating Vote Goals for Multi-Candidate Races:

Step 1: Turnout for the last three relevant elections:
(year 1 turnout + year 2 turnout + year 3 turnout)/ 3 = Average Turnout %
i.e. : in 2015, 4% turned out for the Mayoral; in 2013, 3%; in 2011, 5%

Step 2: Average Turnout %  * Current Voter Registration = Expected Turnout #

Step 3: This part depends on the number of people in your election. X = Total number of candidates running

If 10+ Candidates:
Expected Turnout # / (X - 5) = Vote Goal

If 5-9 Candidates:
Expected Turnout # / (X - 3) = Vote Goal

If 2-4 Candidates:
Expected Turnout # / X = Vote Goal