When Utah's GOP-dominated legislature didn’t foot the bill for a state-run presidential primary in 2016, it was left to the state parties to administer and fund Utah’s presidential caucuses. On March 22, the Utah Republican Party conducted one of the biggest online elections in the history of the United States by allowing eligible Utah Republicans the option of casting ballots online in the state’s closed presidential primary using desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones. 

Amidst the excitement for record turnouts in Maine’s Democrat caucuses on March 6th were feelings of frustration and disappointment when lengthy delays prevented many voters from participating in the process. While the majority of states hold presidential primaries, Maine is among the few states that currently rely solely on the caucus system, where meetings are arranged by either the state or political party and voters openly show support for candidates by raising their hands or breaking into groups.

With nearly 46,000...

For decades, Iowa has served as the national kickoff event for the presidential election season, hosting the first caucus of the year. But who actually informs the process? Iowa hardly provides a demographic snapshot of the nation--with a population that is 94% white and with high proportions of Evangelical Christians. Who are the Iowa caucusgoers who set the stage for the national presidential election season? Here's a snapshot of who participates in the Iowa Caucuses.

On Feb. 1, Iowa voters will gather in select caucus sites to choose their respective national parties’ presidential candidates. However, for the first time in the history of the Iowa Caucus process, active duty members of the military and civilians living abroad will be allowed to participate and cast their vote. The Iowa Caucus has served as the first major electoral event of the U.S. presidential nominating process since 1972. Both the state Republican and Democratic Iowa parties administer their own set of caucuses that are subject to their own set of rules that can change from time to time (e.g., voters in each party's caucus must be registered with that party, voters can change their registration at the caucus location, etc.).

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For the first time in Illinois, most of the state’s 17-year-olds had the chance to cast ballots in this year’s primary elections. Their participation was the result of a bill passed by the General Assembly in 2013. HB 226 opened up voting to 17-year-olds who will turn 18 before the general election. According to the Chicago Tribune, the measure received widespread bipartisan support, with proponents saying it would encourage young people to get involved in the political process.

Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and North Dakota are all set to hold primaries or caucuses in the first two months of the new year.

States need to be aware that the budget crisis for state and local governments is likely to put the 2012 presidential election—and beyond—more at risk than at any time since the 2000 election. Despite the successes of each election cycle in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010, severe budget constraints have the potential to cause voting concerns in 2012. Actions, if taken soon, can lessen the strain on state and local governments. Changes in state election laws and practices can result in temporary and/or permanent savings for both state and local election offices. Some federal mandates will trigger greater expenses for both near-term and long-term future decisions.

The National Popular Vote Compact continues to gain momentum in the current legislative session as legislatures debate the merits of a bill which aims to change the method in which the President of the United States is elected.

The Delaware House recently approved the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.  Delaware is seeking to gain a stronger voice in presidential elections given their small size and 3 electoral votes.  Although there is some debate whether Delaware’s voice would in fact gain strength if the voting procedure were changed.  Also, on Tuesday the New York Senate passed the compact and is waiting on approval from the Assembly for passage.

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed likes the presidential primary. But this year, he recommended to Gov. Chris Gregoire and the state legislature’s budget writers to cancel the 2012 primary.