Hundreds of delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday, but what is - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Hundreds of delegates up for grabs on Super Tuesday, but what is a delegate?

(FOX19 NOW/File) (FOX19 NOW/File)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

With the biggest primary voting day in 2016 election cycle now finished, some of the next states to vote include Kentucky and Ohio.

But, what does it take to get a nomination for President of the United States?

"If you go back in time, these were literally the movers and shakers who would chart the course of the nation's future,” said David Niven, a political science professor at the University of Cincinnati.

While things are a bit different in this day and age, the goal is the same – win the primaries, get the delegates, secure the nomination.

"Once you get a majority of them, you're going to be the nominee.  That's really what the fight is about,” Niven said.

To win the nomination this year, a GOP candidate needs 2,383 delegates, and a Democrat candidates needs 1,237.

So, what does it take to be one of the chosen few?

"The average delegate in Ohio is a political activist not in any elected office,” Niven said.  “Regular people can be delegates.”

Where do these delegates come from?

Niven says Republicans basically handpick them, whereas Democrats do it differently through local meetings.

"On the Republican side, you're a friend of the campaign.  On the democratic side, you win a local little pre-election caucus,” Niven told FOX19 NOW.

The parties set the number of delegates by state, basing it sometimes on support and past voting patterns.

In Ohio, there are 66 Republican delegates and 165 Democrat delegates in 2016. 

In Kentucky, there are 45 Republican delegates and 53 Democrat delegates. 

These are people who will attend their party’s convention with a pledge to cast their vote for a certain candidate and essentially decide who you will be able to vote for come the general election in November.

"In effect, you're voting for a delegate,” said Niven.

Democrats also have what are known as ‘superdelegates.’ Niven says these are party officials, elected officials, members of Congress and so on. 

“They’re automatically delegates to the national convention with a full vote, and they can vote for anybody they want,” he said. 

But, for Republicans, the superdelegate system is a bit different.

“They pledge their superdelegates to whoever wins that person’s state. So, Ohio’s Republican superdelegates have to vote for whoever wins the Ohio primary,” Niven explained.

Niven doesn’t expect an issue with the Democrats finding a majority to pick a nominee. 

But it is possible that there could be a tie, or no majority, with so many candidates still in the race for the Republicans. 

The delegates who have pledged to a candidate that has dropped out of the race is free to vote for another candidate to get the majority.

A majority of delegates will decide the nominee. 

Niven told FOX19 NOW that if the nominees were selected today, it’s likely that the general election would feature (D)-Hillary Clinton taking on (R)-Donald Trump.

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