The candidates wait in their bunkers for news of potential ballotage. Photo via infobae.com

There’s been a lot of talk this election cycle about ballotage or balotaje. But what exactly does it mean? We’re here to break it down for you.

Also known as second ballot or runoff voting, ballotage is an important element of Argentine electoral politics. The country’s Constitution states:

  • Section 94.- The President and Vice-President of the Nation shall be directly elected by the people, by second ballot, according to this Constitution. To this end, the national territory shall be a single constituency.
  • Section 95.- The election shall be held within the two months previous to the expiration of the term of the President in office.
  • Section 96.- The second ballot, when appropriate, shall be held between the two voting formulas of the most-voted candidates, within 30 days of the previous election.
  • Section 97.- If in the first ballot the most-voted formula obtains more than 45 percent of the affirmative votes validly cast, its members shall be proclaimed President and Vice-President of the Nation.
  • Section 98.- If in the first ballot the most voted formula obtains at least 40 percent of the affirmative votes validly cast, and there is a difference of more than 10 percent regarding all the affirmative votes validly cast for the formula following in number of votes, its members shall be proclaimed President and Vice-President of the Nation.

So what does this all mean for today’s election?

For front runner Daniel Scioli to win, he would have to receive 45 percent of the votes OR 40 percent of the votes with a 10-point lead over the runner up (most likely Macri).

If Scioli is unable to achieve the necessary lead, then we enter the infamous ballotage, or second round, between the two leading candidates. Ballotage would see Argentines lining up for a second time at voting stations on November 22nd.

There has never been a ballotage in Argentine history.

Macri’s camp asserts that a ballotage will occur and a runoff is in our future.

As the votes come pouring in, all we can do is wait and see.