A NY Times column/blog called The Upshot has accused New Hampshire of giving Marco Rubio one too few delegates after the GOP primary, but as I discuss in the Concord Monitor today, they’re wrong. They misinterpreted the confusingly worded state law which says how delegates are apportioned.
The key issue is when to round numbers to the nearest integer. You can read the whole piece here, but if you’re in a hurry here’s the important bits:
The important sentence (in the state law) is this: “The Secretary of State shall apportion delegates to the national party conventions . . . by determining the proportion of the number of votes cast for each presidential candidate to the total votes cast for all presidential candidates of the same political party, rounded to the nearest whole number.”
The argument given by The Upshot hinges on when and how often to apply the “rounded to the nearest whole number” rule. Here’s how The Upshot arrived at its conclusion:
Rubio received 10.6 percent of the vote in the GOP primary, which rounds up (you remember rounding rules from fifth grade, right?) to 11 percent.
The state has 23 GOP delegates, so Rubio should receive 11 percent of them, or 2.53 delegates, The Upshot said. But you can’t have partial delegates, so that figure is rounded to the “nearest whole number,” which is three delegates.
Yet Rubio was awarded two delegates – leading The Upshot to cry foul.
You’ll notice that The Upshot rounded twice: once for the vote percentages, and once for the number of delegates. It called this an “unorthodox ‘double-rounding’ ” method.
But Dave Scanlan, assistant secretary of state who oversees elections, says that’s not the way it’s done: New Hampshire rounds once, not twice.
“That’s not what the statute says,” Scanlan said. “We calculated the raw percentage, came up with a number of delegates with a fraction attached and rounded it.”
So, since Rubio received 10.6 percent of New Hampshire’s 23 delegates, he should get 2.438 delegates. Rounding that to the “nearest whole number” produces two delegates, the number he was given.