How the 2024 Republican and Democratic presidential primaries and caucuses work

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The race for the White House continues, with the 2024 presidential primaries and caucuses starting earlier this month.

Here’s how the 2024 Republican and Democratic presidential nominating contests will work.

Who runs in presidential primaries and caucuses?

Former President Donald Trump and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley are the two remaining major Republican candidates seeking their party’s presidential nomination through their respective state primaries and caucuses. (Past candidates include Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former Vice President Mike Pence and others.)

Meanwhile, Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips and author Marianne Willamson are campaigning long-shot to challenge incumbent President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination as he seeks a second term.

Launched by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. initially campaigned as a Democrat as well, but then switched to being an independent.

What are presidential primaries and when did the primaries start?

The goal for both Democratic and Republican candidates is to win their presidential nominations, which will put their names on the ballot in the general election in November.

Third parties, such as the Liberal Party, hold their own nomination contests; Independent candidates must instead go state-by-state to meet requirements to get on the ballot in November.

Party nominations are won via statewide primaries or caucuses, which are similar — but markedly different — contests.

First: The primary elections:

A presidential primary is an election held every four years in the months leading up to the party’s presidential convention.

The rules for each primary can vary somewhat from state to state. But generally, during primaries, voters choose who they prefer to become the party’s nominee for the general election — casting ballots in a state’s Republican primary, for example, or Democratic or Libertarian primaries, but not all. .

Some states require that voters be registered with a particular party to participate in this nominating contest; some countries Don’t require this.

Photo: A voting booth at a polling station inside Plymouth Elementary School in Plymouth, New Hampshire, on January 23, 2024.

A voting booth at a polling station inside Plymouth Elementary School in Plymouth, New Hampshire, on January 23, 2024.

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Based on the results of the primaries, candidates receive a certain number of delegates, which are people who have pledged to support that candidate at the party’s national convention where the nomination is granted.

Technically, this means that candidates are competing for delegates and not just the largest number of votes.

But since the advent of the modern nomination system, in the 1970s, delegates have become closely tied to who wins the most votes.

For Republicans, the number of delegates a candidate will receive depends on the state. In some cases, the candidate who wins the primary receives all the delegates, while in other cases delegates are awarded proportionally to the amount of votes the candidate received.

For Democrats, in all primaries, delegates are awarded proportionately based on the amount of votes a candidate received, although candidates He must receive at least 15% of the votes In that case you won’t be able to gain any delegates.

PHOTO: Voters wait in line to get their ballot and vote in the New Hampshire primary, at a voting site at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire, on January 23, 2024.

Voters wait in line to get their ballot and vote in the New Hampshire primary, at a voting site at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire, on January 23, 2024.

Michael Reynolds/EPA via Shutterstock

Presidential nominations did not always work out this way. Before the 1970s, primaries and caucuses were not held often or systematically, and often awarded candidates a much smaller number of delegates.

While they allowed candidates to prove to undecided party officials that they were viable in the general election, party leaders and insiders ultimately had much more influence over who got on the ballot rather than the average voter.

But in 1968, Vice President Hubert Humphrey won the Democratic presidential nomination without participating in any primaries. The chaotic convention and resulting politics helped launch the reforms undertaken by both major parties that led to the current nominating process.

This year’s schedule of presidential primaries and caucuses begins with the Iowa primary on January 15, and the New Hampshire primary on January 23.

What is the definition of a caucus, and how do a presidential primary differ from a caucus?

In some states, the state Republican or Democratic Party holds caucuses instead of primaries to determine who voters there prefer as the party’s nominee. The most prominent caucuses took place in Iowa earlier this month.

While both primaries and caucuses award delegates to candidates, caucuses work differently than primaries.

Caucuses, like primaries, can have rules that vary by state and party. Unlike primaries, caucuses are run by political parties and not in conjunction with state election officials.

Generally, at a caucus, like many held throughout Iowa, voters gather in a public place at a specific time and representatives of each candidate, if not a campaign staffer or the candidate themselves, pitch their campaign in hopes of winning over their colleagues Participants in the party rally. – A process that can involve lengthy discussions before votes are cast.

PHOTO: Caucus members write their preferred candidate's name on a ballot during Iowa's 14th District at Ames Middle School, on January 15, 2024, in Ames, Iowa.

Caucus members write the name of their preferred candidate on a ballot during the Iowa 14th District caucus at Ames Middle School, on January 15, 2024, in Ames, Iowa.

Nirmalindu Majumdar/Ames Tribune via USA Today Network

The public nature of caucuses is what sets them apart from typical primaries, where, as in a regular election, voters can arrive at a polling location at any time throughout the day (or vote early or by mail, depending on the state), or cast ballots. Especially their secret ballot and then they leave.

What are delegates and why do candidates compete for them?

In politics, a delegate is someone who is elected to represent others at a political rally. When it comes to presidential primaries and caucuses, delegates are people from either party who are elected—usually in separate caucuses or caucuses—by others of their party to represent the candidate they support at the party’s national convention.

Presidential candidates compete to obtain the largest number of delegates because if they obtain a majority, they are guaranteed to run for the presidency.

The Republican candidate must obtain at least 1,215 delegates To secure the nomination In 2024, according to the Republican National Committee; While the Democratic candidate must obtain 1,968 delegates, according to the Democratic National Committee.

When are candidates nominated and when are the party conventions?

Candidates are formally nominated as their party’s nominees at their party’s national convention, a massive gathering held every four years where party members meet to vote on their nominee, to plan the next election and traditionally to mark their nominee’s debut. Public campaign.

The 2024 Republican National Convention will be held Monday, July 15 through Thursday, July 18 in Milwaukee.

Photo: In this undated photo, the downtown Milwaukee skyline is visible.

In this undated photo, the downtown Milwaukee skyline is visible.

Stock Photos/Getty Images

The 2024 Democratic National Convention will be held from Monday, August 19 to Thursday, August 22 in Chicago.

In both conventions, delegates will formally vote on who they support to become the presidential nominee and then vote separately on whom they support for vice president.

This process is based on the results of the primaries and caucuses, and presidential candidates usually choose a vice presidential candidate, who are then chosen together.

During most years, because primary and partisan results are public as they occur in real time, it is already known how many votes each presidential candidate will receive based on the number of delegates they are allocated, even though Democratic candidates are not technically obligated to support the candidate. They said they pledged to do so.

Photo: In this undated archive photo, the Chicago skyline is visible.

In this undated archive photo, the Chicago skyline is visible.

Alan Baxter/Getty Images

Once delegates have voted on who should be the nominee, the winning presidential candidate becomes the party’s nominee, and candidates from each party begin campaigning in the general election against each other and seeking votes from the public.

ABC News’ Isabella Murray and Kendall Ross contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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