How Do Presidential Primaries Work?

The presidential primaries have just started, and it seems like it's all everyone is talking about.  You want to talk politics like a smart girl.  But first, you want to know everything about how primaries work. Before the general elections, there is a nominating process.  This is when political parties hold conventions and a group of delegates choose their candidate.  There are two methods for choosing delegates: primaries and caucuses.  You will hear about both throughout the nominating process.  A primary is ran by the state government.  A state party runs a caucus.  Some states have primaries, some have caucuses, and some have both.

Presidential primaries are similar to the general election.  Registered voters choose the candidate they want via secret ballot.  But there are some differences.  There are two main types of primaries: open and closed.  In an open primary, voters of any affiliation can vote in any primary.  However, they cannot vote in more than one primary.  In a closed primary, only the voters registered with the party can vote in its primary

Each party will have their own primaries and caucuses.  For both parties, the Iowa caucus is first.  Then they both hold a primary in New Hampshire.  They they have caucuses in Nevada and primaries in South Carolina.  This process continues from February to June.

The Democratic party awards the delegates with a proportional method.  That means if a candidate wins 70% of the votes in a state, they are awarded 70% of the delegates and the other candidate receives 30%.  The Republican party gives states the option use the proportional method or the winner take all method.  With winner take all, the candidate receiving the majority of votes is awarded all of the delegates.

So find out about your candidates, stay on top of the latest news, and (if you are old enough) do not forget to register to vote.