2022 Congressional Primaries Vote-Splitting Tracker

Image Description: Left-justified text reads "In 2022, 135 Congressional primaries have included an election that lacked a majority winner because votes were split between multiple candidates." To the right of the text, there is a box labeled "Split Vote Counter" and a big green 135 appears under the label.

Vote-splitting is an issue that plagues American elections, and the 2022 midterms are no exception. In recent years, congressional primaries have become more and more crowded, and the more candidates who enter a race, the greater the opportunity for vote-splitting.

For the purposes of this tracker, we define a vote-split election as any election where the winner(s) came away with 50% or less of the vote. We’ll be updating this tracker in real-time throughout the 2022 primary season as we keep tabs on vote-splitting in congressional primaries.

Congressional Districts with Vote-Split Primaries in 2022

Each primary is labeled as Democratic (D), Republican (R), Libertarian (L), or Blanket (B).

  • TX-1 (D)
  • TX-3 (R)
  • TX-7 (R)
  • TX-15 (D)
  • TX-21 (D)
  • TX-24 (D)
  • TX-28 (R)
  • TX-29 (R)
  • TX-30 (R)
  • TX-30 (D)
  • TX-32 (R)
  • TX-35 (R)
  • TX-37 (R)
  • TX-38 (D)
  • IN-1 (R)
  • IN-9 (R)
  • OH-SEN (R)
  • OH-6 (D)
  • OH-9 (R)
  • OH-10 (D)
  • OH-13 (R)
  • KY-3 (R)
  • NC-1 (R)
  • NC-4 (D)
  • NC-6 (R)
  • NC-7 (D)
  • NC-11 (R)
  • NC-12 (R)
  • NC-13 (R)
  • OR-SEN (R)
  • OR-5 (R)
  • OR-6 (D)
  • OR-6 (R)
  • PA-SEN (R)
  • PA-6 (R)
  • PA-12 (D)
  • AL-SEN (R)
  • AL-5 (R)
  • GA-1 (D)
  • GA-2 (R)
  • GA-6 (R)
  • GA-7 (R)
  • GA-10 (D)
  • GA-10 (R)
  • MT-1 (R)
  • MT-2 (L)
  • MS-2 (R)
  • MS-3 (R)
  • MS-4 (R)
  • CA-3 (B)
  • CA-5 (B)
  • CA-9 (B)
  • CA-13 (B)
  • CA-15 (B)
  • CA-16 (B)
  • CA-21 (B)
  • CA-22 (B)
  • CA-27 (B)
  • CA-37 (B)
  • CA-40 (B)
  • CA-41 (B)
  • CA-42 (B)
  • CA-45 (B)
  • CA-46 (B)
  • CA-49 (B)
  • NJ-7 (R)
  • NJ-11 (R)
  • NV-1 (R)
  • NV-2 (D)
  • NV-4 (R)
  • SC-SEN (D)
  • VA-07 (R)
  • CO-3 (D)
  • CO-5 (R)
  • CO-7 (R)
  • CO-8 (R)
  • IL-SEN (R)
  • IL-1 (D)
  • IL-1 (R)
  • IL-2 (R)
  • IL-6 (R)
  • IL-8 (R)
  • IL-11 (R)
  • IL-13 (R)
  • IL-14 (R)
  • IL-17 (D)
  • OK-SEN (R)
  • OK-SEN (D)
  • OK-2 (R)
  • MD-SEN (R)
  • MD-2 (R)
  • MD-3 (R)
  • MD-7 (R)
  • AZ-SEN (R)
  • AZ-1 (R)
  • AZ-2 (R)
  • AZ-4 (R)
  • AZ-6 (R)
  • KS-SEN (D)
  • MI-10 (D)
  • MI-13 (D)
  • MO-SEN (D)
  • MO-SEN (R)
  • MO-1 (R)
  • MO-6 (D)
  • MO-7 (R)
  • WA-2 (B)
  • WA-3 (B)
  • WA-4 (B)
  • WA-8 (B)
  • TN-5 (R)
  • MN-04 (R)
  • MN-05 (R)
  • VT-SEN (R)
  • VT-01 (R)
  • WI-03 (D)
  • HI-SEN (R)
  • AK-SEN (B)
  • AK-01 (B)
  • NY-01 (R)
  • NY-03 (D)
  • NY-10 (D)
  • NY-22 (D)
  • FL-7 (D)
  • FL-7 (R)
  • FL-10 (D)
  • FL-10 (R)
  • FL-13 (R)
  • FL-15 (D)
  • FL-15 (R)
  • FL-22 (R)
  • FL-23 (R)
  • NH- SEN (R)
  • NH-01 (R)
  • NH-02 (R)

So, what exactly is vote-splitting?

Vote-splitting occurs when multiple similar candidates have their support split among the same voter base, making it more likely that a dissimilar—and sometimes less popular—candidate will win.

Image Description: The top of the graphic reads "More Candidates = More Vote-Splitting". In smaller font underneath, it reads "Likeminded voters are split between similar candidates, which means an unpopular candidate can win without broad support." Under that, there is an image of 6 candidates lined up in a row. The 4 candidates on the left are white and the 2 candidates on the right are green. The 4 white candidates are labeled as the "Similar Candidates" and they have a total of 60% support, with each candidate having 20%, 10%, 10%, and 20% support respectively. The two green candidates on the right have a total of 40% support, with one candidate having 10% and the other having 30%. The candidate with 30% of the vote is labeled as the "Unpopular Candidate" and they are the winner.

Why is vote-splitting a problem?

Voters having more choices and more candidates feeling encouraged to run is a good thing. But because of our current choose-one voting method, more candidates means more vote-splitting, since voters only have one precious vote to give.

This is a problem because it means that if a voter (or group of voters) supports multiple, similar candidates, they can’t show support for all of those candidates. They must choose one. This can lead to candidates winning with only a small fraction of the vote—sometimes as little as 30% or less.

When support is split among similar candidates, sometimes the “wrong” candidate can win. By that, we we mean that a candidate who actually has less overall support than other candidates.

For example, in the graphic above, 60% of voters would have preferred one of the “similar” candidates on the left. But because their vote was split, the less popular candidate—who only 40% of the electorate preferred—ended up winning.

Our elections are supposed to represent the will of the people. But with vote-splitting, that’s not a guarantee.

What can we do about it?

Vote-splitting is a product of our failed choose-one voting system. And that’s a good thing—it means we aren’t stuck with it if we’re willing to make a simple change to the way we vote!

The solution is approval voting. Approval voting allows you to vote for ALL the candidates you approve of, instead of being forced to pick just one. That means that if there are many similar candidates in a race, you can vote for as many of them as you’d like, without worrying about splitting the vote.

An easy way to support approval voting is by signing up to contribute to The Center for Election Science every time a vote-split election occurs.

Every dollar you give will go towards building our network of local advocates in places like Seattle and Utah who are working to bring approval voting to their communities.

Sign up today and make an investment in a stronger democracy.