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Breaking Down The 2016 Election

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Elon chapter.

For a lot of us, collegiates, this upcoming election will be the first time we can vote in a presidential campaign. So, it’s time for us to start studying up on the many different terms and candidates involved in the competition for the White House.

Primary vs. Caucus, what is the difference?

Photo courtesy of: Nation of Change


Primaries are state-level elections in which members of a political party vote for a candidate who is affiliated with their party. Thirty-four U.S. states use the Primary system for determining political candidates.


A Caucus is a meeting in which registered members of a political party gather to vote for their preferred candidate. Every election season, Iowa hosts the first caucus. There is so much hype about Iowa, as it is the first big result and measure of public opinion for an election.

What happened in Iowa?

Photo courtesy of: Eagle Tribune

At the 2016 Iowa Caucus, Ted Cruz won 27.6% of the republican vote, with Donald Trump and Marco Rubio trailing not too far behind with 24.3% and 23.1% of the vote, respectively. For the Democrats, it’s unclear who the preferred candidate will be. While Hillary Clinton technically won the Caucus, it was very close. Clinton won 49.9% of the vote with Bernie Sanders right behind her with 49.6% of the vote.

How does voting work in our state, North Carolina?

Photo Courtesy of: Elon University

The North Carolina Primary will be held on March 15th, 2016. North Carolina runs on a semi-closed primary system. This means that if you are registered to vote with either the Republican or Democratic Party, you must vote for the candidates within those parties. However, if you are unaffiliated with a party, you can choose which party you vote with.

When will your home state vote?

  • Connecticut: Closed Primary, April 26th, 2016
  • Maryland: Closed Primary, April 26th, 2016
  • Massachusetts: Semi-Closed Primary, March 1st, 2016
  • New Jersey: Semi-Closed Primary, June 7th, 2016
  • New York: Closed Primary, April 19th, 2016