Pete Buttigieg will still be on Super Tuesday ballots, even though he dropped out of the presidential race on March 1, 2020. This is largely because he dropped out so close to the race, and ballots have already been printed. Of course, countless mail-in ballots have likely already been filled out, meaning that there’s a chance the Democratic candidate has still garnered thousands of votes for the upcoming primaries on Super Tuesday.
So what happens to all of Buttigieg’s votes on Super Tuesday? Where do they go?
Buttigieg was in third place for the presidential nomination when he dropped out, having earned 26 delegates in the Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada primaries. Ahead of him, Bernie Sanders has the most delegates leading into Super Tuesday (58), and Joe Biden has the second most delegates (50), after a sweeping win in the South Carolina primary.
Given Buttigieg’s high ranking in the race, it’s normal to expect that many people might still vote for him on Super Tuesday, if they don’t hear that he’s dropped out, or maybe even if he has, to make a point.
Here’s what you need to know about what will happen to all of the Super Tuesday votes that go towards candidates who have already dropped out:
Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Pete Buttigieg, and Tom Steyer Will All Be on the Super Tuesday Voting Ballets, Due to a Filing Deadline
According to Balletopedia, all of the ballots for Super Tuesday were set at the candidate filing deadlines in early January. So if another candidate were to drop out, they’d also remain on the ballot. This means that plenty of other candidates who are no longer running for president will be on Super Tuesday ballots, besides Buttigieg: Julian Castro, Tom Steyer, and Cory Booker, for example.
So what happens if you vote for a candidate whose candidacy is void by the time the voting is tallied?
The short answer is your vote becomes void. If a dropped-out candidate earns enough votes to garner delegates, then those delegates will be free to vote for another candidate at the Democratic National Convention, in most cases. If a dropped-out candidate endorses another presidential candidate, though, then his or her delegates will likely move over to support that candidate.
You can learn more about what happens to delegates after their presidential candidate drops out here.
Around this time of the election cycle, it’s normal for presidential candidates to base their decision to drop out of the race on delegates. Specifically, they might have garnered so few delegates thus far that their likelihood of gaining enough delegates in future primaries is no longer even a possibility. But there are other, more nuanced reasons for why candidates might drop out or stay in the race longer, even if they know they won’t win.
CNN reports that Buttigieg decided to drop out of the race before Super Tuesday because he didn’t want to continue splitting the moderate vote and, in doing so, give Sanders an “insurmountable” delegate lead. On the other hand, Politico’s Bill Scher suggested a reason why Amy Klobuchar would decide to stay in the race, and use her small amount of delegates to her own advantage.
“If I’m Klobuchar, I *don’t* drop out Sunday because I can win Minnesota Tuesday and keep some delegates from Bernie,” Scher tweeted. “Then I drop out Wednesday and endorse Biden.”