In the United States, elections to federal and state office involve a two-step process: the nomination process, and then the general election process.

When we look at federal offices, such as President, the United States House of Representatives, and the Senate, and state offices, such as governor, state legislature, and other statewide offices, such as state secretary of state, and lieutenant governor, these offices are partisan.


The transcript is for your convenience
What do we mean by partisan in nature? That is that people when they campaign for these positions, they campaign first to achieve or win their party’s nomination. So, they’re running as Republicans, or Democrats, or maybe even Libertarians, for example.

So, when we look at this, there are two methods that parties use in order to determine who their nominee will be in the general election. Now, the party nomination process, especially when we look at Presidential elections, the party nomination process takes place during January throughout the summer. And it occurs in one of two ways: a party primary or a caucus. Let’s first look at party primary. In the party primary process, you have two types. You have the open primary and you have the closed primary.

Now, with the open primary, any voter can vote in a particular party’s primary without initially claiming any allegiance to the party or the party platform. So, that is an open primary. Open to any voter that wishes to participate.

Then you have a closed primary. In a closed primary, it only involves voters that have identified and claimed that party for Allegiance purposes. So, before they register, or when they’re registering the vote, they will claim to register as a Democrat, or a Republican, or maybe a Libertarian, or a Green party member, and that is the only primary that they are allowed to vote in until the registration period opens again.

So, open primary, closed primary,  that is the primary process, and whoever wins that primary eventually advances to the general election as that particular party’s nominee. The other process is called the caucus nomination process. Now, this is the least used process. It’s used it 11 states, and what a caucus process,  it involves a local and small group of party members and party leaders that determine who their nominee will be for these various positions on the federal and state level.

Again, whoever comes out as the winner in the caucus process advances as that party’s nominee to the general election. And the individual that gets the most votes in the general election becomes the holder of one of these federal or state offices.

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