Yesterday there were several presidential primaries, including the ones in Missouri. With all precincts counted, the Missouri results included these figures:

Clinton - 310,602
Sanders - 309,071
Uncommitted - 3,702

Trump - 382,093
Cruz - 380,367
Uncommitted - 3,216

There's a 1,531-vote difference between Clinton and Sanders, and a 1,726-vote difference between Trump and Cruz. In both cases, this is fewer than the number of uncommitted votes.

Is this really a win for the candidate with the most votes? What does an "uncommitted" vote really mean? If this doesn't make any difference, how many "uncommitted" votes would be required to make a difference?


Every state has different rules that govern the primary voting process. In many states, there are other races on the ballot and it's possible (intentionally or not) for a voter to have a ballot, mark down their preferences for the local races, and leave the presidential primary spot unfilled. This would be counted as "uncommitted"--there was a voter that had a ballot but did not commit to anyone for that race.

In some states, such as Michigan, there can actually be an option to vote for "Uncommitted" which may happen if somebody has a preference for that party but doesn't want to support any of the specific candidates.

In a state with a caucus, a similar thing (#4 in the link) can happen if a group of voters decides that they don't have a preference for any candidate or they fail to come to a decision. You might also see this outcome as "Undecided".

As far as what difference this makes on the results of the vote as a whole, well that's a matter of speculation about which way these voters would go if they were forced to choose from the available candidates. Your guess is probably as good as anybody's.


With sufficient votes (sufficient being defined state by state in the Republican primaries), uncommitted can get delegates. These delegates are unbound and can vote for any candidate at the convention. If there aren't enough votes to get delegates, it has the same effect as any other insufficient vote: none. In states with thresholds, it's possible for uncommitted to keep a candidate or candidates from making the threshold.

Example source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/03/11/uncommitted-gop-strategists-win-virgin-islands-contest-denying-delegates-to-cruz-and-trump/

That shows that the Virgin Islands primary actually chose six uncommitted delegates.

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