U.S. election: What's a primary anyway, and why does it matter?

For Canadians accustomed to electing their federal government on an election day that rolls around once every four years, the prolonged presidential election process south of the border may seem confusing.

See Full Article

As both Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls focus on the New Hampshire primaries on Tuesday, CTVNews.ca takes a closer look at the voting process and its part in the U.S. presidential election.

What are primaries?

In an election year, U.S. states hold either primaries or caucuses in which registered voters choose nominees to attend the national party conventions where the presidential candidates will be selected.

Most U.S. states hold primaries -- a statewide process of selecting delegates through a secret ballot.

Primaries rely on a traditional ballot system that would be familiar to Canadian voters.

During an open primary, held in 19 states, including Texas and Virginia, voters can cast ballots for a candidate from any political party.

In a closed primary, individuals can vote only for a candidate representing the political party to which they belong. For example, a voter who registered as a Republican can only vote in the Republican primary.

Most U.S. states hold closed primaries.

What are caucuses?

Caucuses are more akin to public meetings, that include speeches and debates before the voting takes place.

Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, Wyoming and Iowa are the only states to rely solely on the caucus voting format.

Caucuses allow participants to openly show support for candidates, and voting is often done by raising hands. Typically, registered voters can only participate in the caucus that they’re affiliated to.

Why are Iowa and New Hampshire so important?

Iowa, which uses a caucus system, and New Hampshire, which holds primaries, are the first states to vote in a presidential election year. In these races, candidates can either gain momentum or decide whether it's time to bow out of the race.

In the last 10 New Hampshire primaries, the winner of the Republican race went on to become the eventual nominee eight times. On the Democratic side, seven winners went on to become the party's presidential candidate.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 2 Uncle Ben's rice varieties recalled in eastern Canada

    Canada News CBC News
    Mars Food Canada is voluntarily recalling select Uncle Ben's rice products, including its Fast & Fancy Broccoli and Cheddar, and Country Chicken flavoured rice, after learning about possible salmonella contamination in the seasoning pouches in both products. The recall only affects products sold in eastern Canada. Source
  • Democratic socialism surging in the age of Trump

    World News CTV News
    PORTLAND, Maine -- A week ago, Maine Democrat Zak Ringelstein wasn't quite ready to consider himself a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, even if he appreciated the organization's values and endorsement in his bid to become a U.S. Source
  • Ailing Sergio Marchionne replaced by Jeep executive Mike Manley at Fiat Chrysler

    World News CBC News
    Fiat Chrysler Automobile announced Saturday that CEO Sergio Marchionne's health had suddenly deteriorated following surgery and that its board of directors had chosen Jeep executive Mike Manley to replace him. Marchionne, a 66-year-old Italian-Canadian, joined Fiat in 2004 and led the Turin-based company's merger with bankrupt U.S. Source
  • DFO announces another fishing closure after recent right whale sightings

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX - The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has announced another fishing closure in Atlantic Canada after two North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the Bay of Fundy. They say an area in the Grand Manan Basin -- a critical habitat area for the endangered species -- will be closed to fishing beginning Sunday at 6 p.m. Source
  • B.C. man arrested after inflatable sex toy sent into Vancouver air space

    Canada News CTV News
    A North Vancouver man could face charges after allegedly sending a blow-up doll into flight paths at Vancouver Harbour. The West Vancouver Police Department said two men at Ambleside Beach in North Vancouver were filming a video on July 3 with “an adult-sized and shaped inflatable" with 10 large helium balloons attached to it. Source
  • Sudbury police faces backlash after 'dispatching' injured bear cub

    Canada News CTV News
    The Greater Sudbury Police Service is facing intense criticism after witnesses say two officers shot and killed an injured bear cub without properly assessing whether the animal could be saved. Local resident Anne Chadwick wrote a post on Thursday about coming across a black bear cub on the highway that had just been hit by a vehicle and abandoned. Source
  • Montreal protesters urge Ottawa to halt Haiti deportations after travel advisory

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL - Protesters are calling on the Canadian government to declare a moratorium on deportations to Haiti as civil unrest sweeps the country. About two dozen protesters held a rally in front of Citizenship and Immigration Canada's Montreal offices today. Source
  • No Name chicken nuggets and Ritz 'bits' recalled for potential salmonella contamination

    Canada News CBC News
    The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is recalling "Ritz bits" sandwich crackers and No Name chicken nuggets for risk of salmonella contamination. The breaded nuggets, offered at Maxi, Provigo, AXEP and Intermarché grocery stores in Quebec, were sold in boxes of 907 grams with the best before date "2019 MA 15. Source
  • IMF warns G20 that tariffs will harm global economy as Trump threatens escalation

    World News CBC News
    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned world economic leaders on Saturday that a recent wave of trade tariffs would significantly harm global growth, a day after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened a major escalation in his dispute with China. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she would present the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Buenos Aires with a report detailing the impacts of the restrictions already announced on global trade. Source
  • Russian foreign minister calls for release of pro-gun activist accused of being a spy

    World News CBC News
    Russia's foreign minister told his U.S. counterpart on Saturday that a woman arrested in the United States on accusations she was a Russian agent had been detained on "fabricated charges" and should be released. Sergei Lavrov made the comments about Maria Butina in a phone call to U.S. Source