The nominating process for candidates is not as straightforward as it seems. Regardless of what percentage of the vote candidates receive, they only officially become their party’s nominee after an often-overlooked group of party representatives have had their say: the delegates.

“If you walk into a ballot booth to cast your vote [in a primary], you’re not really voting for the candidate you back.” says The Atlantic’s senior politics editor Yoni Appelbaum, “You’re voting for a delegate to go to a convention and vote for that candidate.” Despite their influence on the nomination process, the role of these delegates can be confusing. The Atlantic’s Caty Green looks to clear things up.

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