Election 2020 Lingo Math

April 1, 2021
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Buckle Up

The 2020 Election is shifting into high gear

The Democratic convention commences this week, followed by the Republican convention next week. Here’s common terms you’ll hear in the weeks & months ahead as we race towards voting day.


  • FEB – AUG: Voters select candidate they want to see in November’s general election during state primaries & caucuses. Results determine how delegates vote at party conventions.
  • AUG: Dems & GOP delegates vote for their party’s candidate at conventions.
  • NOV: Voters cast their votes for president & VP in general election. Results determine how many Electoral College votes each candidate receives.

Delegates & Conventions

  • Candidates are “presumptive nominees” until they are officially selected by delegates at conventions.
  • There are 2,551 Republican delegates at stake and 4,750 at stake for Democrats.
  • Each party drafts its own rules on how delegates are awarded to candidates.
  • Most are “pledged” to vote for candidate that won primary/caucus.
  • Candidate with most votes becomes each party’s presidential nominee.

Primaries & Caucuses

  • Caucuses: Differs by party, but usually voters gather at public locations to debate and then vote in multiple rounds until a “winner” gets the required number of votes.
  • Primaries: Voters cast secret ballots – like general elections statewide. Some states hold “open” primaries, where any registered voter can vote regardless of party affiliation (ex: registered GOP can vote in SC Democratic primary).

Electoral College 101

  • When you vote in November, you *actually* vote for a slate of electors (Electoral College members) who pledged to vote for candidate that wins popular vote in your state.
  • Each state receives the # of electors equal to its # of representatives (based on population) & senators (two).
  • Electoral College has 538 electors – majority (270) votes needed to win. House of Representatives decides if tie.

Of course Pres. Trump and former Vice Pres. Biden aren't the only ones one the ballot on November 3. There are also 35 Senate seats up for grabs. Currently the Senate is made up of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats and 2 independents who vote with Democrats. All of the 435 House seats are up for grabs.

2020 Presidential Election: Electoral College

2020 Presidential Election: 2020 Caucuses

2020 Presidential Election: Three Things To Know About The Remaining 2020 Democratic Candidate

by Jenna Lee,