The Race For President Begins

Thousands of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire will decide who they want to be the next president.

In November, voters across the country will choose the next President of the United States. First, voters will decide who the presidential nominees will be. Nominees are people chosen to represent a political party in an election.  

This is where state primaries and caucuses come in! Each US state and territory holds its own election. They decide the nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties. Most states and territories hold primaries. Some states hold caucuses instead of primaries. In both contests, people choose a candidate to vote for. Most primaries involve a voter casting a ballot (a sheet of paper used to cast a vote) in secret. In a caucus, voters often have a chance to talk with one another about the candidates. The nominees who win appear on the ballot in November. If people don’t vote in these early elections, they don’t get a say in who makes it on the ballot. 

This month, the first primaries and caucuses take place. On January 15, Iowans choose a candidate to become the Republican nominee. On January 23, New Hampshire voters decide who they think the Democratic and Republican nominees should be.  

Before election day, candidates will travel across Iowa and New Hampshire to campaign (to plan and participate in a series of events in the hopes of winning an election). While campaigning, candidates discuss what they plan to do as president. They explain why people should vote for them.  

From 1972 until 2020, the Iowa caucuses were the first contests held in a presidential election year. This was true for both political parties. But this year, Iowa Democrats will not announce the winner of their caucuses until March. Since 1920, New Hampshire has always held the first primaries. This year, the state will continue that tradition.  

Every four years, American voters cast ballots to decide who the next president will be. In November 2020, 155 million people voted. This month, voters in Iowa and New Hampshire will be the first Americans to make their voices heard in the 2024 presidential race! 

What Do You Think? Why do you think it’s important for voters to participate in primaries and caucuses? 

Photo Credits: Ariel Skelley/Blend Images