Early voting begins today for Tennessee’s March 1 presidential primary and, in 54 counties, there are primary elections on local offices as well. Republicans will also be voting on delegates to the Republican National Convention at both the statewide and congressional district level.
Each Republican voter can select 14 at-large state delegates and three congressional district delegates. (Democrats choose their delegates as a series of caucus events next month.)
From a Tennessean report:
The delegate portion of the primary — which includes 428 total delegate candidates across Tennessee — means the Republican primary ballot in Tennessee this year stretches around 10 pages long, perhaps even longer depending on the county.
…Here’s how to understand the Republican ballot:
• Each ballot begins with the choice for president, which will include candidates such as George Pataki, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul and others who have dropped out of the race at some point. Like any election, voters can pick only one candidate.
• Next, Republican primary voters can vote for 14 at-large delegates. Most are committed to a particular presidential candidate, but some are uncommitted. Voters can pick any delegate regardless of who they vote for president. There are 148 overall at-large candidates.
…• Voters also can vote for three delegates to represent their congressional districts.
…All told, the breakdown of the 58 delegates goes like this: 27 are congressional delegates, three from each district; 14 are elected at-large delegates; another 14 are appointed at-large delegates at a later time by the Tennessee Republican Party’s executive committee; and three additional delegates are picked by the Republican National Committee.
Delegates will represent the state party at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, in July.
The top delegate vote-getter on March 1 won’t necessarily be an individual who is listed as being committed to Tennessee’s presidential primary winner.
But it wouldn’t matter if that scenario happens, according to Haynes. That’s because a complex formula based largely on proportionality decides how many delegates are allocated to each candidate.
The most likely part of this formula that will apply to the upcoming election refers to a race in which no candidate receives more than two-thirds of the vote. In this scenario, at-large delegates are awarded proportionately to only those candidates who get at least 20 percent of the vote.