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Primaries, Caucuses, and Popular Sovereignty

Guiding Question:

How do primary elections and caucuses allow citizens to participate in the selection of governing officials? 



Every year is an election year in the United States. Voters participate in local, state, and national elections, selecting representatives who will carry out the will of the people. But how is it determined which candidates appear on the ballot?  



U.S. Constitution (Article 1 Section 4) 

Presidential Primaries and Caucuses 



Briefly explain the principle of federalism to students if they are not familiar with it. Have students read Article 1 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution and do a quick write answering the question: How does the process of prescribing how elections are held uphold the principle of federalism? 



Have students read Presidential Primaries and Caucuses and then answer the following questions. 


Comprehension Questions 

  1. In your own words, what is the difference between primaries and caucuses? 
  2. In your own words, what is the difference between open and closed primaries? 


Analysis Questions 

  1. Why do you think there are multiple unique systems in place in the United States for selecting candidates for a general election?
  2. Do you believe primaries or caucuses are a better way for people to select candidates that will best represent their interests? Explain your answer. 


Think the Vote is a platform where students can exercise civil discourse and express their opinions on current event topics. This week’s question is: Should States Stop Having Closed Primaries? Lead students in a discussion of their answers after they have submitted them on the platform! This week’s contest ends on February 15th.   

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