New Hampshire Polls Open

The road to the White House continues, as voters head to the polls for the first primary of the 2016 presidential election. Just a week after the Iowa caucus, New Hampshire kicked off their decision day, as presidential hopefuls anxiously awaited results from the granite state. New Hampshire claims the 'first in nation' primary status -- some polling sites even opened their doors at midnight on voting day!

The New Hampshire primary follows the Iowa caucus, and it's considered an important contest in determining who the real contenders are for the White House. 

But there's a big difference in the way the two states, Iowa and New Hampshire, choose their candidates. Unlike a caucus, New Hampshire uses the primary process, in which voters cast private ballots in closed off booths. The country is somewhat divided in this aspect, with 10 states relying solely on the caucus system, 35 states holding only primaries -- and some using a combination of both systems. The primary system is a little easier to understand compared to the complicated caucus process. For example, after one precinct, or voting area, ended up in a tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in Iowa's caucus, a coin flip determined the winner!

Whether it's a coin flip in a caucus -- or voting privately in a booth, these contests are staggered from February until June. And they're important in determining how many delegates each candidate gets.

So the U.S. presidential selection process is a bit crazy and complicated -- and somewhat divided, right? That said, we need your help. Which voting system do you think is most effective? A primary or a caucus? After voting in the survey, write to us and let us know which system you would want to participate in and why it might be preferable over the other.

Instructional Links

Lesson Plan: PBS LearningMedia, Are the Primaries and the Caucuses?

Video: Primary Elections Explained

Website Article: FactCheck, Caucus vs. Primary

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