Winning the presidential nomination is about delegates. But how does the process work?


WASHINGTON (AP) — By now, Americans should be well aware that process of electing a president It’s not like electing a senator or a governor. This is especially true during presidential primaries, when the major political parties use a complex and decentralized system to choose their candidates to compete in November.

That complex process was highlighted in nominating plans released Tuesday evening by the Republican National Committee, which outline several ways in which states would appoint delegates who would nominate a candidate to win the party’s approval to become the presidential nominee in 2024. Will have to be deposited for.

Although voters across the country vote for their preferred presidential candidate during the presidential primary season, it is actually the delegates to the national party conventions who select the presidential candidates for each major party. Like the general election, where a candidate needs a majority in the Electoral College to win the White House, in primaries, candidates need a majority of delegate votes at the convention to win the party’s presidential nomination. Winning the popular vote in a primary or caucus may give a candidate bragging rights and media attention, but it is the candidate who accumulates the most delegates who ultimately advances to the general election.

Here are the basics about the delegate selection process you should know as the primary campaign begins in less than seven weeks:

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In the context of presidential elections, delegates are individuals who represent their state or community at their party’s presidential nominating convention. These delegates select the presidential nominee to represent the national party in the November general election. They also approve the party platform and adopt the rules governing the party. Delegates are usually party insiders or activists or early supporters of a particular presidential candidate.

How many representatives are there?

Both the Democratic and Republican national conventions will include thousands of delegates representing all 50 states in addition to the District of Columbia and several U.S. territories. Democrats will have about 3,900 voting delegates for the first round of voting at the convention, and more than 4,600 for a later round of voting if necessary. 2,429 Republican delegates will vote at the convention.

What kind of representatives are there?

Delegates can be divided into two broad categories: pledged and unpledged, as Democrats call them, or bound and unbound, as Republicans call them.

Pledged and bound delegates must vote for a particular presidential candidate at the convention based on the results of the primary or caucus in their state. These are the delegates who are ready to participate in any primary or caucus night. The requirement to vote for a specific candidate remains in place until at least the first round of voting at the convention, but depending on state and party rules, some pledged and obligated delegates are required to vote for any candidate in subsequent rounds of voting. Become free for.

Pledged and bound delegates can be further divided into at-large delegates and district delegates. Delegates at large represent the entire state, while district delegates represent specific districts within the state, usually congressional districts but sometimes state legislative districts. Democrats have an additional type of pledged delegate that Republicans do not: party leaders and elected officials, or PLEOs. These include notable local elected and party officials, though not governors or members of the U.S. Senate or House.

Unrestricted and unrestricted delegates may support any presidential candidate regardless of primary or caucus results in their state or local district. On the Democratic side, unpledged delegates cannot vote on the first ballot in closely contested races, but are free to vote for any candidate in subsequent rounds of voting. democrat This rule was adopted after the 2016 elections To limit the power of unpledged delegates, formerly known as “superdelegates”. All Democratic governors, U.S. senators and representatives, current and former Democratic National Committee chairmen, and former presidents serve as unrestricted delegates.

For Republicans, delegates from Guam, Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota will be free and independent to vote for the candidate of their choice, according to plans released Tuesday.

How does a candidate ‘win’ delegates?

Candidates win delegates in a state based on their performance in an election or some type of presidential preference event, usually a primary or caucus. But the two major parties have radically different approaches to determining how delegates are allocated to candidates.

How do Republicans allocate delegates?

For Republicans, state parties are mostly free to determine how to award delegates to presidential candidates, although the RNC establishes some guidelines and restrictions. The most common delegate allocation methods are:

– Proportional: Candidates are awarded delegates in proportion to the votes they receive in the primary or caucus. There are many variations of proportional allocation methods. Some states allocate all their delegates in proportion to the statewide vote. Others allocate their statewide delegates according to the statewide vote and their district delegates according to the vote in each district. Many states require that candidates meet a certain vote threshold at the statewide or district level to qualify for any delegate. Under RNC rules, states holding contests before March 15 must use the proportional allocation method, and candidates cannot exceed the 20% vote threshold to qualify for delegates.

– Winner-take-all: The candidate who receives the most votes in a primary or caucus wins every delegate at stake in that contest. Only competitions held on or after March 15 can allocate delegates on a winner-take-all basis.

– Hybrid: Some states allocate delegates using a mix of proportional and winner-take-all methods. A common combination is majority-take-all, in which statewide delegates are awarded proportionally, although a candidate can win them all if they receive more than 50% of the vote. District delegates to Congress will be awarded in the same manner, based on the results of each individual district. Those combinations are permitted for states that are otherwise required to allocate their representatives proportionally.

– Direct election of representatives: Under this method, representatives are elected directly by the voters.

How do Democrats allocate delegates?

Unlike Republicans, Democrats have a standardized rule that all state parties must follow. Candidates win at-large and PLEO delegates in proportion to their share of the statewide vote. They also win district delegates in proportion to their share of the vote in each congressional district. Candidates must receive at least 15% of the statewide vote to qualify for any statewide delegate and at least 15% of the vote in a congressional district to qualify for delegate in that district.

When will the first representatives be allocated?

The Republican delegate selection process will begin with the Iowa caucuses on January 15 and the New Hampshire primary on January 23. Nevada and South Carolina will hold representative tournaments in February. According to party rules, the Democratic delegate selection process will begin with the South Carolina primary on February 3, with contests in Nevada and Michigan later that month. New Hampshire is holding a Democratic primary on January 23 in violation of DNC rules, and the DNC has not yet explained if and how it will impact the state’s delegate allocation. Most of the Democratic and Republican contests will be held between March and June.

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