The Louisiana Presidential Primary election is March 5, 2016.  Voters will go to the polls and vote for the candidate who they want to represent them and their party, be it Democrat or Republican. In this election, only Democrats and Republicans can vote and they can ONLY vote for a candidate in their party.  Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.  For more details about this election, click here.

How does this work?  What is the Presidential Primary all about?

Before the General Election can take place, a selection process is held to determine which candidate is going to be on the ballot and represent a given political party in the nationwide General Election. Each political party, Democrat and Republican, will have a national convention at which time a group of delegates will decide which candidates they want to run for the Presidency and Vice Presidency.

From there, the process of choosing delegates gets underway.  There are two methods for choosing delegates to the national convention and that's the caucus and the primary. Today most states use the primary, which basically serves as a way to measure the public's opinion.

In states that hold caucuses, a political party announces the date, time, and location of the meeting. Any voter registered with the party can attend. At the caucus, delegates are picked to represent the state's interests at the national party convention.

There are two main types of primaries, closed and open.  In a closed primary a registered voter can only vote for a candidate within their party.  For example; a registered Democrat voter, can only vote for a Democratic candidate.  In an open primary, a registered voter can vote for whomever they choose, regardless of the party they or the candidate is affiliated with. However a voter can only participate in one primary.

Each political party uses different methods in awarding delegates:

The Democratic Party uses a proportional method.  The percentage of delegates each candidate is awarded is measured by by the number of primary votes a candidate receives.

The Republican Party allows each state to decide what method they want to use, winner-take-all or the proportional method. In the winner-take-all, the candidate with the majority of voter support receives all the delegates for the state. HOWEVER this primary system differs from state to state.  So the best rule of thumb, is find out what method your state uses by contacting your state Board of Elections.