- A primary election is a nominating election in which the field of candidates who will run in the general election is chosen. Victory in a primary usually results in a candidate being nominated or endorsed by a political party for the general election.
John McCaine won the primary among Republicans.
**For those of you who thought Obama won the U.S. election, the real action hasn't even
- A general election is an election held to choose among candidates nominated in a primary (or by convention, caucus or petition) for federal, state and/or local office. The purpose of a general election is to make a final choice among the various candidates who have been nominated by parties or who are running as independents (not affiliated with a major political party) or, in some cases, write-in candidates. Measures such as proposed legislation (referendums), bond issues (approving the borrowing of money for public projects) and other mandates on government also can be placed on the ballot.
- In addition, many states provide for special elections, which can be called at any time, to serve a specific purpose, such as filling an unexpected vacancy in an elected office.
What is a convention?
Conventions are meetings sponsored by political parties for members of the party to discuss issues, candidates and campaign strategies. These meetings can last several days.In presidential elections, after state primaries are concluded, each party holds a national convention to formally select the presidential nominee – usually the candidate who secured the support of the most convention delegates, based on victories in primary elections. Typically, the presidential nominee then chooses a running mate to be the party's candidate for vice president.
The Democratic National Convention will be in Denver on August 25-28, 2008.
The Republican National Convention will be in St. Paul, Minnesota, September 1-4, 2008.
What is a caucus?
A caucus is a meeting at the local level in which registered members of a political party in a city, town or county gather to express support for a candidate. For statewide or national offices, those recommendations are combined to determine the state party nominee. Caucuses, unlike conventions, involve many separate meetings held simultaneously at multiple locations. Both the Democratic and Republican parties have their own rules governing caucuses. Those rules vary from state to state.
When are general elections held?
They are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. The 2008 general election will be held on November 4.
What is the Electoral College?
The Electoral College is the group of citizens designated by the states to cast votes for the president and vice president on behalf of state citizens. The process for selecting electors varies from state to state, but usually the political parties nominate electors at state party conventions or by a vote of the party's central committee. The voters in each state, by casting votes for president and vice president, choose the electors on the day of the general election. The Electoral College, not the popular vote, elects the president, but the two votes are tied closely.
How does the Electoral College elect the president?
The Electoral College system gives each state the same number of electoral votes as it has members of Congress. The District of Columbia is allocated 3 electoral votes. There are a total of 538 votes in the Electoral College; a candidate for president must get 270 to win (a simple majority). All but two states have a winner-take-all system, in which the candidate who gets the most popular votes in the state is allocated all of the state's electoral votes.
Let me explain....
popular votes...the vote count of citizens of the state.
electoral votes...no. of representatives from that state in congress...District of Columbia has 3
Now, the candidate winning more popular votes is awarded all the electoral votes of that state i.e. whoever gets more popular votes in D.C. is awarded 3 votes.
All over the country there are 538 electoral votes and 270 are needed for simple majority.
If no presidential candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution provides for the presidential election to be decided by the House of Representatives. In such situations, the House selects the president by majority vote, choosing from the three candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. Each state would cast one vote.