Explaining The Texas Two-Step

If Democrats have shown the American people anything this election cycle, it's this: They like to do things the hard way.

They started out their primary season in Iowa, which has a caucus process that can resemble dodge ball, tug of war, and a high school popularity contest, all to allocate Iowa's 45 pledged delegates to the Democratic convention. Then they threw in the superdelegates.

These Democratic governors, legislators, and party leaders make up 20 percent of the delegates who will go to Denver in August and help pick the Democratic nominee. Who knew?

Today, they give us "the Texas Two-Step," a fun electoral dance in Texas in which voters can participate in both a primary and a caucus. Delegates are awarded with a typically overly complicated Democratic twist.

Texans who decide to vote in the Democratic primary can do so without being a registered Democrat. They are able to vote during an early voting period, which occurred February 19-29, or they can vote today. The candidate who "wins" the Democratic Texas primary will get a big chunk of the 126 delegates up for grabs.

But there are still an additional 67 delegates to be distributed to the candidates through a multilayered caucus process.

Those who have voted in the Texas Democratic primary are eligible to take part in a caucus at their precinct location this evening. Those caucuses will choose delegates who will go on to a county/district Democratic convention to be held on March 29. But it's not over after that. Delegates at the county/district convention will choose delegates to go on to a June 6 state convention in Austin. Those delegates will choose how the 67 national delegates are split between the candidates.

To simplify this process for the voters, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have posted instructions on their websites and, at campaign events, have asked supporters to vote during the early voting period to save voters the trouble of having to go to their precinct location twice on March 4.

By Nikki Schwab