10 questions for primary voters:
Q: Heading into New York, where does the delegate count now stand for Democrats?
A: There are a total of 4,763 delegates with 2,382 needed for the nomination. Clinton has 1,758 delegates to Sanders’ 1,069 delegates, including “superdelegates.” In the actual binding delegate count, however, and Sanders’ supporters like to point this out, Clinton’s lead is only 1,289 to 1,069.
Q: Where does the delegate count stand for Republicans?
A: There are a total of 2,472 delegates, with 1,237 needed for the nomination. Heading into New York Trump leads the way with 755, followed by Cruz with 545 and Kasich with 143.
Q: What is a superdelegate?
A: The term is a creation of the media. The Democratic Party has 712 unpledged delegates nationally that are often referred to as superdelegates. They are typically party leaders and are free to support any candidate. In New York, most have declared support for Clinton although that support is not binding.
Q: Does the Republican Party have superdelegates?
A: Not in the same way as the Democrats. The Republicans have around 100 unpledged delegates made up of party leaders who are sometimes referred to as superdelegates. They can switch allegiance anytime before the national convention. The Republicans also have unpledged delegates because states choose not to hold primaries (a recent example is Colorado) or do not require some delegates to be bound by primary results (for example, Pennsylvania coming up on April 26.)
Q: Is New York an open or closed primary?
A: New York is a closed primary for both parties, meaning that you have to be registered as a voter in one of the two major parties and then vote in that party’s primary. And, to participate Tuesday, voters must have been registered with their party by October of 2015, or 25 days prior to the last general election.
Q: How important is New York for the Republicans?
A: If Trump is to reach 1,237 delegates and claim the nomination before the Cleveland convention, he is going to need a big victory in New York, winning convincingly at both the state and congressional district level. With three real contenders in New York, that’s why No. 2 and No. 3, Cruz and Kasich, are working so hard to keep Trump from reaching the 50 percent figure.
Q: How do you become a Democratic delegate?
A: Those interested persons must be supported by the candidate and file petitions signed by either 500 enrolled Democrats within the congressional district or signed by 0.5 percent of the enrolled Democrats in that district. The petition must indicate the name of the presidential candidate the delegate is supporting.
Q: How many winner-take-all states are there?
A: There are only eight states who still use the system and they are all on the Republican side. In Florida, Ohio, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota, Arizona, Nebraska and Delaware, the winner gets all of the state’s delegates, even if he or she doesn’t reach 50 percent. The biggest states are Florida and Ohio, which are worth 99 and 66 delegates respectively.
Q: When was the last time New York’s primary had any real relevance in the nominating process?
A: On March 7, 2000, New York was one of 13 states in the “Super Tuesday” primary in which Arizona Sen. John McCain was hoping to catch Texas Gov. George Bush. The former POW lost in New York and in most of the other 12 primary states that day, leaving Bush to coast to the nomination.
Q: When was the first presidential primary held in New York, and how did it go?
A: New York’s first primary was in 1912, with incumbent president William Howard Taft the Republican winner, gaining the nod over former president Theodore Roosevelt and Wisconsin progressive Robert LaFollette. Woodrow Wilson was the winner in the Democratic primary and went on to win the national election in the fall. According to newspaper coverage of the day things didn’t go well. “Big Confusion Throughout the City,” blared the New York Tribune, while the New York Times wrote, “the primary election here today was not only a farce, but goes beyond that and is an insult to the city.”
— Bill Buell