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Electing the President
There are two types of primaries for president, the open and closed primary. In a closed primary, a voter can only cast a vote in their own party’s election. For instance, a registered Democrat may only vote in the Democratic presidential primary election in their state, the same goes for the Republican. For the open primary, a registered voter can vote in either primary, but cannot vote in more than one. In a few states, a combination of the primary and caucus are used.
The Democratic and Republican party use different ways to award their delegates to a particular presidential candidate. The Democrats use a proportional method reflective of a candidate’s results in a particular state’s caucus or primary. For example, if a candidate garnered 60% of the vote in a ten delegate state, he or she would get 6 delegates. The other candidates would also be awarded delegates proportionately, but must receive over 15% of the vote. Republicans, however, allow states to choose if they want the proportional method or winner-take-all. In a winner-take-all state, any presidential candidate getting majority support receives all of the state’s Republican delegates.
For a list of 2012 state delegate totals by party, click here.