What is a Primary Election?

Primaries are the first election in the cycle where voters are able to choose among their party’s candidates to represent the party in the final election, called the general election. Primaries take place in late winter and early spring. Many states are changing their place on the primary calendar to earlier dates to increase their influence in the nomination process.

The winner of each state primary receives a number of delegates who pledge to vote for their candidate at the national party convention held during the summer. It is at the national convention that the results of the primary elections are made official. The candidate with the greatest number of delegates becomes the party's nominee.

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