How to Calculate a Majority Vote

Use arithmetic to figure out the majority vote in your election.

Whoever gets the most votes may not be the true winner. Depending on the rules or laws for the election, the winner may have to get a majority of the vote, not just the most votes. This applies primarily when there are more than two candidates in the hunt, but it's possible to receive the most votes and not get a majority. A simple majority of the votes is one vote more than half the total votes cast. If you get the most votes but less than the majority, you have instead won a plurality. Run through the arithmetic to calculate what the majority vote is, then determine if you have a winner.

Count the total number of votes cast.

Divide the total by two. For an even-numbered total, add one to the result to find the threshold for the majority. For an odd total, round to the higher number for the majority. If there are 580 votes cast, the result is 290. Adding one yields 291, the minimum majority. If 951 votes are cast, 475.5 rounds up to 476.

Tally the votes. If any candidate received the minimum majority of the votes or higher, that candidate has won the majority vote. If the highest vote-getter tallies under that number, they have won a plurality.

Check your bylaws, rules or other governing regulations if a majority vote is not achieved to see if further action is required to determine a winner.

Bill Brown has been a freelance writer for more than 14 years. Focusing on trade journals covering construction and home topics, his work appears in online and print publications. Brown holds a Master of Arts in liberal arts from St. John's University and is currently based in Houston.