and political party caucuses
<ul><li>U.S. presidential elections come every four years. </li></ul>Presidential elections
<ul><li>primary elections </li></ul>Two types of elections <ul><li>general elections </li></ul>
<ul><li>Primary elections  are held in 38 states and Washington, D.C. </li></ul>Primary elections
<ul><li>13 states hold caucuses instead of primary elections. </li></ul>Caucuses
<ul><li>Iowa conducts the first caucus in early January. </li></ul>Iowa caucus
<ul><li>The first presidential primary comes in  New Hampshire, also in January. </li></ul>New Hampshire primary
<ul><li>Primary elections and party caucuses for presidential  nominees  go on January to June. </li></ul>The long primary...
Campaign to November
<ul><li>After the primaries and caucuses comes the general election. </li></ul>General elections
<ul><li>From primary elections to the general election, voters wield the ultimate power. </li></ul>The people decide
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Primary Elections and Political Party Caucuses


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What types of elections are
held in the United States?
In a general election, voters make their final choice among candidates for federal, state and local offices. Candidates in the general election are nominated by their political parties or run as independents (not affiliated with a major political party). Voters also can write in the name of a candidate they support.
General elections are run by the states, but the date for the general election is set by federal law as the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
Measures such as proposed legislation (referendums), bond issues (borrowing money for public projects) and other government actions also may be placed on the ballot. Each state has its own rules about what measures can be placed on the ballot.
What is a Primary?
A primary election is a contest in which a political party selects its candidates to run in the general election. The outcome is determined by the registered voters who cast their ballots at their local polling places.
For the presidential nomination only, voters select delegates to cast their ballots for a candidate at the party’s national convention. For all other primary races, voters vote directly for a candidate.
Some primaries, called closed, are restricted to voters who have registered their political party affiliations. In other words, only registered Republications will be allowed to vote in some primaries to select the Republican candidate for president. Open primaries allow any registered voter to cast a ballot regardless of party affiliation.
Like the general election, primaries are conducted by the states. Unlike general elections, states set the schedule for primaries.

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  • Notes: U.S. presidential political campaigns go on a long time. As soon as one election concludes, some potential candidates begin preparing for the next one four years later. They need that time to build a campaign organization and attract financial contributions. In the presidential election year, from January through June, candidates participate in primary elections and political party caucuses trying to clinch their political party’s nomination long before the November general election. The final stage of the election begins in the summer, when the two major political parties hold their national conventions and formally nominate their candidates. Photo: Republican candidates Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Herman Cain and Mitt Romney debate in October 2011 in Las Vegas months before any elections and more than a year before the 2012 general election. (AP Images)
  • Notes: Every four years in November Americans elect a president and vice president. Candidates spend years building political support before they campaign for their party’s nomination to run for president. Every two years, in November, Americans elect all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives for two-year terms, and 33 or 34 of the 100 U.S. Senate seats are up for election for six-year terms. State and local governments also hold elections for their executive and legislative office holders. Some states hold their state and local elections to coincide with national elections; others hold them in what are called “off-election” years. Photo: President-elect Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, left, and Vice President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, celebrate their election night victory in Chicago November 4, 2008. (AP Images)
  • Notes: In January through June of a presidential election year, primary elections and party caucuses are held. While the U.S. Constitution directs that the national election for president always takes place in November, individual states schedule the dates for their own primary elections and caucuses. Primary elections are held in 38 states and in Washington, D.C., the national capital. In 2012 the first presidential primary will take place in New Hampshire January 10. Political party caucuses are held in 13 states instead of primary elections. In 2012 the first caucus will take place in Iowa January 3. The candidates who win the most state primaries and caucuses continue to the summertime national conventions of the Democratic and Republican parties. The general election for president and members of the U.S. House and Senate will take place November 6, 2012. Photos: Left, in September 2007 in New Hampshire, eight Democrats seeking nomination as their party’s 2008 presidential candidate participate in a debate. Among the debaters are eventual candidate Barack Obama, fourth from left; Joe Biden, Obama’s later choice for vice president, at left, and Hillary Clinton, Obama’s later choice for secretary of state, second from right. Right: Democratic candidate Obama, left, and Republican candidate John McCain, right, participate in a nationally broadcast presidential debate in October 2008, a few weeks before the November general election won by Obama. (AP Images)
  • Notes: Primary elections are held prior to a general election to determine party candidates for the general election. The winning candidates in the primary go on to represent that party in the general election. Primary elections select not only candidates for president but also candidates for the U.S. House and Senate, state governors and legislators, and local government office holders. In a presidential primary, the winner gets the biggest share of that state’s delegates to the national party convention. Any presidential candidate who can win a majority of delegates through primary elections and caucuses can begin the general election campaign months before the national convention formally selects him or her as the nominee. In recent presidential election cycles, states have been competing to hold the first primary election -- even breaking national party rules aimed at halting this practice. The first primary always gets a lot of media coverage and so some states that hold their primary elections later feel cheated of having influence on the outcome of presidential nominations. Photo: A video screen shows television news reporting candidate Charlie Crist’s win in the September 2006 primary election making him the Republican party nominee for governor of Florida. Two months later Crist defeated the Democratic nominee in the general election for governor. (AP Images)
  • Notes: A caucus is a local nominating convention. In a caucus for presidential contenders, members of a political party gather in local sessions to discuss which candidate to support as the party’s nominee in the national election. Caucus participants might make their choice in a series of open votes or a mix of open votes and secret ballots, depending on party rules in that state. Between balloting rounds, supporters of different candidates try to persuade other participants to join them. State party officials combine final local caucuses results to select candidates for the general election of statewide offices and members of the U.S. House and Senate. For presidential candidates they combine local results for delegates to the summer national party convention. Photo: Hillary Clinton supporters hold up signs at a Democratic caucus in South Portland, Maine, in February 2008. Combined statewide Maine caucus results gave Clinton nine delegates and Obama 15 delegates to the national convention. Clinton and Obama emerged as the frontrunners for the nomination and competed vigorously for months; Obama finally clinched a majority of delegates in June. (AP Images)
  • Notes: Since 1972, Democratic and Republican party members in Iowa have held the first caucuses of presidential election cycles. Many candidates who fare poorly in Iowa drop out of the contest. In contrast, little-known Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter used good results in Iowa in 1976 to propel him to more primary victories and then the Democratic nomination and election as president. Photos: Left, an Iowa precinct chairwoman explained the complicated caucus rules to participants on January 3, 2008. Center and right: The winners that night were Republican Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Democrat Barack Obama. John McCain finished only fourth in the Iowa Republican caucus, but strong results in later contests gave him the nomination. Huckabee dropped out of contention in March. Similarly, although Hillary Clinton finished third in the Iowa Democratic caucus, her campaign revived in subsequent primary elections; she conceded to Obama only in June.(AP Images)
  • Notes: Since 1952, the New Hampshire primary has received special national attention. As in the Iowa caucuses, some candidates who fare poorly in New Hampshire drop out of the race for their parties’ nomination. Two incumbent presidents, Harry Truman in 1952 and Lyndon Johnson in 1968, abandoned re-election campaigns after faring poorly in the New Hampshire Democratic party primaries. One complicating feature of the New Hampshire election is that voters not registered as a member of a political party can choose to vote in the Democratic or Republican party primary. Photo: Rick Erwin tallies votes in tiny Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, slightly past midnight on Tuesday, January 8, 2008. The town’s voters gave early-morning victories to Barack Obama and John McCain. (AP Images)
  • Notes: Most of the time it is clear by early spring of an election year who the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees will be since candidates who don’t do well in early state primaries and caucuses usually drop out of the race by March. In 2008, however, Obama clinched the Democratic nomination only in June after an intense race with Hillary Clinton. Photos: Left: Barack Obama celebrates with supporters in Chicago after winning 13 Democratic primaries on “Super Tuesday,” February 5, 2008. Hillary Clinton, his main remaining opponent at that point, won 10 primaries that day. Center: Mitt Romney appears at his Massachusetts campaign headquarters on Super Tuesday 2008; he won Republican primaries in seven states that day while John McCain won in nine states, but McCain picked up three times more delegates for the nomination than Romney. Right: McCain rallies supporters in Michigan in January 2008 after winning the New Hampshire primary. He later won the Republican nomination but lost the general election in November to Obama. (AP Images)
  • Notes: The two major political parties formally nominate their presidential candidates at national conventions in the summer. In September, October and early November the nominees hold debates and continue to rally voters, especially in closely divided “swing” states. Photos: Left: Barack Obama accepts his nomination August 28, 2008, at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Right: John McCain accepts his nomination September 4, 2008, at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. (AP Images)
  • Notes: Once the primary elections and conventions conclude, the general election is held to determine who will be elected to hold office. In the general election, voters make the final determination from among the party candidates listed on the ballot. The general election ballot may also include independent candidates (those not affiliated with a major political party) who gain access to the ballot by submitting a specified number of petition signatures, rather than by the traditional primary method. In the general election for president and vice president, voters across the United States make a final choice among the candidates nominated by the Democratic and Republican parties and any independent candidates who are running. In November, U.S. citizens vote for the party nominee indirectly; they actually elect people called electors who pledge to support the chosen candidate. Collectively the 535 electors are called the Electoral College. The number of electors assigned to each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., is based on population. In December, the electors formally elect the president, casting their ballots in line with the popular vote results in their state. The U.S. Congress formally counts the electors’ votes in early January. A president’s four-year term begins January 20 following the November general election. Voters in general elections every two years also elect all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives for two-year terms and 33 or 34 of the U.S. senators for six-year terms. Representatives to the House and Senate are not selected by the Electoral College; they are elected directly by the people. On the same day in November as the national election many state and local governments hold general elections for state governors and state legislatures, mayors and other state and local office holders. Photos: Left, 2008 Republican candidates John McCain for president and Sarah Palin for vice president stage an October rally in Pennsylvania. Right, 2008 Democratic candidates Barack Obama for president and Joe Biden for vice president campaign in October in Florida. Pennsylvania and Florida are two of the politically closely divided “swing” states in presidential elections; Obama and Biden won in both those states in 2008.(AP Images)
  • Notes: Whether the election is for the president or a local official, citizens who vote are the ones who determine the outcome of an election. (AP Image)
  • Primary Elections and Political Party Caucuses

    1. 1. and political party caucuses
    2. 2. <ul><li>U.S. presidential elections come every four years. </li></ul>Presidential elections
    3. 3. <ul><li>primary elections </li></ul>Two types of elections <ul><li>general elections </li></ul>
    4. 4. <ul><li>Primary elections are held in 38 states and Washington, D.C. </li></ul>Primary elections
    5. 5. <ul><li>13 states hold caucuses instead of primary elections. </li></ul>Caucuses
    6. 6. <ul><li>Iowa conducts the first caucus in early January. </li></ul>Iowa caucus
    7. 7. <ul><li>The first presidential primary comes in New Hampshire, also in January. </li></ul>New Hampshire primary
    8. 8. <ul><li>Primary elections and party caucuses for presidential nominees go on January to June. </li></ul>The long primary season
    9. 9. Campaign to November
    10. 10. <ul><li>After the primaries and caucuses comes the general election. </li></ul>General elections
    11. 11. <ul><li>From primary elections to the general election, voters wield the ultimate power. </li></ul>The people decide