There are two categories of voting in the US voting system every election Presidential election year. There is a Primary or a Caucus, the two are held in a political party. The primary and the caucus are all held in a state or political party system to choose a preferred candidate for the forthcoming US Presidential election.
What is a Caucus?
A caucus is a meeting of party faithful, leaders and members in a bid to select candidates, elect convention delegates, promulgate, scrutinize and amend party’s policies on some issues.
From 1796 to 1824 nominees for President and Vice-president were chosen by the congress party members in caucuses. State legislators did the same thing for their Governors also. The nominating caucuses are so different from the present one’s today because they are close to the general public. As they were close to the general public, it prompted backlash which led to more open conventions, primaries and caucuses to voters in the state.
Who uses Caucuses?
Since the 1970s, most state parties adopted primaries but a minority still make use of the caucus system, with 10 states switching to primaries since 2016. Six states still make use of caucuses, they are Maine, Kansas, North Dakota, Nevada, Wyoming and Iowa.
Some states normally mix Primaries and Caucuses, using them for different parts of the voting system, some parties use different systems, like in Kentucky, Republicans use caucuses while the Democrats use primaries.
In this present day, state party caucuses are open to anyone who is a bonafide member of the party and registered to vote, these members meet to select who they will recommend for nomination at their party’s convention.
What is a primary?
A primary is a preliminary election in which voters of each party nominate a candidate for an office. A voter goes to poll and cast their vote for any political party candidate that has been nominated in the primary. Today most states use primaries to decide on candidates. Like caucuses, primaries are used to decide on candidates for Local, State and Federal offices.
Types of Primaries
We have OPEN PRIMARIES which means voters can vote for the nominee of any party, even if they are not registered members of that party. CLOSED PRIMARIES which means that only registered members can vote for the party nominee. Lastly we have NON-PARTISAN BLANKET PRIMARIES OR JUNGLE PRIMARIES, it is predominant in Washington and California, in this system, the ballot has all the names of the candidates on it not separated by the party. The two candidates with the highest votes in the primaries run against each other in the general, regardless of the party they belong.
Aftermath of Presidential Primaries and Caucuses
Various attempts have been made to make the Presidential nomination process a direct one but to no avail, it’s still an indirect electoral system. The voters choice are subjected into consideration through caucuses and primaries, then every party holds a national convention.
Once the Presidential nominees are announced by each party, these candidates then proceed to run for the general election. This election is held every four years on the first Tuesday in November.