Caucus vs. Primary: what’s the difference? | Just The FAQs

Caucus vs. Primary: what’s the difference? | Just The FAQs


– Every four years, American states hold
either a primary election or caucuses, part of which is to choose that state’s top Republican and Democratic presidential candidates. So, what’s the difference between the two? Caucuses are elections
run by political parties, while primaries are run
by state governments. In an open primary, registered voters select whichever candidate they want regardless of party affiliation. In a closed primary,
voters must be registered with a political party, and they can only select the candidate within their selected party, but caucuses are different. In some caucuses, secret ballots are cast, while in others, people
openly show support for their favorite candidate. Caucusgoers gather to debate issues and share concerns. Caucusgoers in Iowa’s Democratic Caucus gather in groups to support
their chosen candidate. If after the first round of grouping a candidate doesn’t have 15% support, they are deemed nonviable, and supporters in their group must either join another candidate’s group or convince caucusgoers in other groups to join theirs until 15% is reached. In the 2020 election cycle, primaries and caucuses will
run through the early summer, but a party’s nominee is usually apparent well before the caucuses
and elections are completed. However, across the U.S., Democrats and Republicans won’t officially
nominate their candidate until the party’s national
conventions next summer.

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