Caucus vs. Primary: What's the Difference?

Key Difference

Caucus and Primary both are the phenomena that refer towards the electing nominees for Presidential Elections in the US. In the different States of America, both these processes are practiced, and are used for choosing nominees for Presidential elections. Each state and parties in that state propose names of the nominees from the state, furthermore among those nominated nominees the final candidates of presidential elections are selected. Caucus and primary both are a different process of nominating the candidates and is followed in different parts of US. Primary refer towards the selection of nominees through the electoral process, in which every resident of the state vote in the ballots like general elections. On the other hand, Caucus refers towards the small party meeting and gathering in which party members choose the nominees by raising hands or making groups, etc.

Comparison Chart

Caucus Primary
About Caucus is the phenomena of selecting the nominees for presidential elections by small meeting and party gathering, where party members vote by raising hands. Primary is the famous phenomena of selecting the nominees for the presidential election in each state where all the residents of the state vote in the ballots.
Who Can Vote It depends on the kind of caucus and the state but most of the time only the registered party members vote and choose. It also depends on the nature of primary. Both the registered party members and all the residents of the state usually vote.
Selection Method In caucus, nominees are selected in small gathering or party meeting. Registered party members vote by raising hands or getting divide into groups. Voting is done by selecting the nominees. It is similar to general elections; people vote in secret ballots.
States There are some states of America that use this process which includes Maine, Iowa, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming. All the rest of the States of America other than mentioned in caucus uses the primary process for selecting the nominees for presidential elections.
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What is Caucus?

Caucus is the term that is used to depict the phenomena of selecting the nominees for the Presidential elections in the US. Caucus is the term used by the Americans for defining the process of selecting nominees for the presidential elections. Caucus is often mixed up with primary as in the majority of the States of America primary method is famous and is used for selecting the nominees. Caucus whereas is an old sort of method which is famous in some of the American states which still prefer caucus for selecting their nominees for elections. In this method, the specific parties with the majority of voters and supporters, call up small party meeting or gathering in any part of the state. In that gathering, only the registered party members and official people are allowed to participate. In these gatherings than the registered party members are given the right to choose their personal favorite nominee as a candidate. The party members vote by simply raising hands or by getting separated in groups showing up the support for a particular member. By this simple gathering and informal kind of method, the nominees are finalized and proposed further to be the candidates of the Presidential elections. The party with a majority in every state proposes their nominee for as candidate of the presidential election, from which the candidates are finalized for presidential elections. This method was popular early on in many states of America but later on started to be faint out as many thought it is not enough for choosing the right candidate, and the party members are biased on the basis of their affiliation with particular candidates. There are some states of America that use this process which includes Maine, Iowa, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, Dakota, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming. All the states except these states use the primary method.

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What is Primary?

Primary is the method or process that is quite famous and used widely in majority states of America for selecting the nominees for the Presidential elections. Primary is a kind of complete official sort of electoral process of selecting the nominees. In this method, the party members along with all the residents of that particular state cast their votes in the secret ballots. This phenomenon is quite similar to the general elections. Due to its clear nature and on merit selection it is highly appreciated and preferred in most of the States of America. The primary method further has different types based on the nature of vote cast by people. For example, some states may possess closed primary method in which only the registered party members vote in the closed ballots for the nominee, and no external person can participate. Whereas in open primary method a permanent resident and registered voter of that particular state also cast their votes along with the registered party members.

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Caucus vs. Primary

  • Caucus is the method of selecting nominees for the presidential elections by calling small party meetings or gatherings.
  • Primary is the electoral method of selecting nominees for the presidential elections.
  • In caucus only registered party members vote by simply raising hands or dividing into groups.
  • In primary registered voters and permanent resident of the state cast their votes in closed ballots along with party members.

Explanatory Video

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