Alex Heldrich, Reporter
‘Twas election season when all through the country, not a person was agreeing, not even with their spouse. The primaries were held in each state to prepare, in hopes that the next president would be supported there.
Primary elections are held to decide which candidate will be on the ballot for each political party in November. This also means that every other advertisement or meme that someone sees on the Internet is about the election.
While the actual process of electing the president can be considered as complex, all people have to do is vote during the state primaries and then vote during the national election on Election Day.
The election officially began with the Iowa caucus on Feb. 1. Unlike a primary where voting is open to the general public, a caucus is an event held between the Democratic and Republican Parties. According to lifehacker.com, caucuses are held at community centers such as schools and churches. Each precinct will introduce its delegates, followed by speeches; then the voting will begin.
There are several major differences between the GOP and Democratic Party at this stage. The GOP secretly casts their vote while the Democratic Party goes through several stages of voting, removing candidates along the way. After the caucuses, delegates are divided based on the results of the caucus and are sent to the national party convention to vote for their candidate on behalf of the state, according to lifehacker.com. This is when the state primaries come in.
Primaries can either be open or closed, according to votesmart.org. A closed primary is when in order to vote, someone must be affiliated with a political party. They may only vote for the candidate for the party. In an open primary, anyone who’s a registered voter can vote for any of the candidates. It’s up to the state to decide whether or not to hold open or closed primaries. When it comes to awarding points to each candidate, the process becomes more complicated. The winning candidate isn’t decided by popular vote but instead by the vote of the delegates for each candidate. Delegates are state officials and mayors. The number of delegates per state is dependent on the state’s population.
As of March 11, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi have held their primaries. The rest of the primaries in the other 34 states will continue into June.
For the GOP, Donald Trump’s in the lead with 459 delegates followed by Ted Cruz with 360 delegates, Marco Rubio with 152 delegates and John Kasich with 54 delegates. To be qualified for nomination, 1,237 delegates out of 1,777 available delegates are needed.
Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party is winning 1,223 delegates and superdelegates. Her opponent, Bernie Sanders, currently has 574 delegates and superdelegates. To be qualified for nomination in the Democratic Party, 2,383 delegates out of 3,286 available delegates are needed.
Pierce College Puyallup has a large number of students who are able to vote.
“It’s very important to vote,” student Josh Hunter said. “People think that one vote doesn’t matter but if 1,000 people think that, then there’s a problem.”
Student Mary Hall plans on voting in the Washington primaries on March 26.
“I feel like since we have the privilege to vote it’s our obligation to do so,” Hall said.
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