For voters looking to play a part in the selection of presidential candidates, the primaries are the place where it all begins. Those who engage in these elections are usually the most dedicated of all American voters, and care very deeply about the issues facing the country. The presidential primaries are a bit different from the normal presidential elections, in that they usually require voters to stay true to their party of choice. It should also be noted that a voter can only participate in one primary.
Closed versus open primary elections
The rules behind voting in the presidential primaries are different depending on the state in which you are voting. In some states the primaries are “closed”, which means that voters have to be registered to a specific party, and must cast their vote for a candidate belonging to the same party the voter is registered to. It is not possible, for example, for a registered Republican to vote for a candidate from the Democratic Party. States that use the “closed” primary system put this restriction on their voters to keep them from claiming to be from the opposing party and casting their vote for a candidate who is unlikely to beat the candidate that they actually want to win.
“Open” primaries are quite different from their “closed” counterparts, as they allow voters to vote for whomever they would like, whether the candidate is from the Republican or the Democratic Party. It is possible in this type of election to decide which party you would like to vote for on the day of the election, without any previous affiliation with that party. There are approximately eighteen states that currently operate “open” primaries and allow everyone to vote for the presidential candidate of their choice. But for all the others you must be a card-carrying member of one of the parties.
Democratic Presidential Primary
If you are a Democrat looking to take part in the Democratic Presidential Primary, it does not matter whether you live in an “open” or “closed” state. It is easy to get registered with a party if you live in a “closed” state, and if you live in an “open” one, it is not necessary to register beforehand. All you need to do to have your vote counted is to find out when and where the presidential primaries are taking place in your state, and go on the day of the election.
How is your chosen Democratic presidential candidate chosen?
Unlike in the Republican system, where the candidate with the most votes takes all, the Democrats operate with a different system, in which the winner is chosen based on the percentage of popular opinion. The number of delegates that a Democratic candidate receives is percentage based, which means that the delegates are divided between the candidates based on the percentage of the votes won by each during the elections. If a candidate gets 40% of the popular vote, he will also receive around 40% of the delegate support.
Voting in the Democratic Primaries is a privilege that no Democratic Party member should opt out of. It is a crucial step in the election process, and helps to weed out the candidates that are not good for the country. It is the first chance that voters get to have a say in who can run for office.