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On February 7, 2012, Missouri conducted the Missouri Primary Elections.  A primary is a partisan statewide or presidential election in which registered voters may cast a ballot for the person they wish their affiliated political party to support.  Missouri has what is known as an open primary.  This means that voters may take a ballot for any party of their choice and vote for those party candidates. Missouri does not require voters to "affiliate" with any political party when they register, however, you must choose a specific party ballot or a non-contested ballot during the primary election.  The vote is a secret ballot.  Based on the results of the primary, each political party in Missouri will decide how delegates to the National Convention shall be chosen.  This may be a winner-take-all or proportional selection of delegates.  The four political parties that conducted primaries this year in Missouri were the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Libertarian Party and Constitution Party.

 

The election results in the 2012 Missouri Presidential Primary Elections can be found HERE.

 

This year, however, was unusual in Missouri for the Republican Party.  In 2008, the Republican National Committee passed a rule that no state except New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina were allowed to have a delegate selection process before the first Tuesday in March, 2012.  The Missouri Legislature tried to change the date of the primary but it was vetoed by the Governor.  Therefore, the Missouri Republican Party made the February 7 Republican Primary "non-binding"  (sometimes referred to as a "beauty contest").  Instead, the Missouri GOP opted to hold Caucus elections starting in mid-March throughout the state.

 

A caucus is a meeting of members or supporters of a political party.  The Missouri Caucus process began with meetings in 113 of Missouri's 114 counties, each of the 28 townships in St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis.  At each caucus meeting, participants had an opportunity to hear from candidates running for public office (or supporters of those candidates) and then to vote on delegates to move on to the either a Congressional District Convention or Statewide Presidential Convention.  The vote was open and public within the caucus meeting.  Delegates who move on to the conventions are not bound to support those candidates once they arrive.  Once there, delegates will select a final group to go to the national convention and support a specific candidate.  Roughly half of the delegates to the Republican National Convention were selected at each of the Congressional District Conventions on April 21.  The rest of the delegates were selected at the statewide convention on June 2.

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