The voting system starts with the primaries, or the caucus, which usually occurs every 2 years. Iowa is a prime example of this, which holds caucuses for both Democratic and Republican parties every 2 years. Unlike the primary elections or the "primaries", Iowa does not require its voters to cast their votes at polling stations throughout the state. In contrast, Iowa natives gather together in the caucus meetings and eventually conclude to nominate certain representatives for their candidacy. During presidential elections and midterms, voters meet together again to vote for each caucus of their party, depending on the precinct.
That is not all. The state of Iowa also holds caucuses to elect the best candidates for delegates and party committees, amongst other activities. The most recent prior Democratic caucus in Iowa took place in early 2020, where Iowans had gotten together to elect Bernie Sanders as the popular vote in the state.
The first Nevada caucus began in 2008, where local Nevadans met together in their precinct to select the delegates that were to eventually represent them in county conventions and other party activities. The state of Nevada has 17 counties, which means that there are 17 conventions, meaning that caucuses needed to be formed together for each one of the representations to get the best outcome.
County conventions allow the voters to pick the delegates who will go on to represent them in the Nevada-State Conventions. This is an important factor, as the delegates that are chosen to represent the counties would go on to also represent them in conventions that have presidential nominations. In 2012, Nevada held its caucuses to determine the presidential candidates and was considered the third most important electoral activity in the entire nation for the nomination process.
For the 2016 elections, Nevada held a republic caucus, which was to determine the results of both the republic and democratic votes. In 2020, Democratic caucuses were held in late February, on schedule, while the Republican Party did not use caucuses, and instead opted to hold primaries in 2020.
Caucuses are extremely important, mainly in states where the decision can be discussed amongst many prominent members of the community. The strength of a caucus as opposed to other voting methods is that one group can be swayed in a particular way, especially if many people agree. This method would not work in communities or large areas where there is sure to be a vast difference of opinion amongst many of the registered voters.
In North Dakota, it is customary to hold caucuses, but only for presidential nominations. North Dakota does not make it a standard to hold caucuses for other things, such as party activities or county conventions. In 2016, the Republican party instead chose to select their presidential delegate at the April party convention, while the Democrats held their caucus in June of the same year. In 2020, the democrats held a fire-house style caucus where voting was done openly rather than in closed polling booths.
The final state to use a caucus is Wyoming. During the 2020 presidential election, Republicans held their party convention in early May of 2020. Democratic leadership canceled in-person caucus meetings because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, voters participated by mail. Ballots had to be received by April 17, 2020.
Caucus or Primary