The American primary election process is, by any measure, arcane, drawn-out, and at times maddeningly confusing.
This Tuesday, March 1, is “Super Tuesday,” aka the “SEC Primary,” (the latter comes from a college athletics conference that includes many of the states voting). A whole slew of states are holding primaries and caucuses. I’ll address the basics of How To Caucus in a separate post — it can be a bit confusing the first time, but don’t let that deter you!
Delegates on Super Tuesday will be allotted proportionately — winner-take-all contests aren’t allowed until March 15. Some states do it directly proportional, but many have clauses where the winner will take most of the votes or candidates have to meet a certain threshold before getting delegates. The math for the Republicans, in particular, will probably get complicated.
If you want some great voter guides, Bernie Sanders’ campaign has an easy-to-use state by state breakdown [here] — you can even use it if you’re voting for Hillary! The League of Women Voters has a great non-partisan search tool as well [here], and has an awesome voter’s guide [here] to help you compare candidates — remember, you might have local races that have primaries as well! Be an informed citizen, and remember that local government often has more of an influence on your day-to-day life than the President.
Also, on Tuesday night, check out The Guardian’s live election returns page. If they continue doing what they’ve done so far, they have little animated figures of the candidates coloring in the counties they’ve won while they spout off talking points. It’s adorable and hilarious.
Answers to FAQs under the cut (corrections welcome):