Iowa kicks off Presidential race today
The presidential election in the United States starts today with the first of the primaries and caucuses about to take place in Iowa.
Both the Republicans and Democrats will hold primaries or caucuses in each state through to June when conventions for each party will decide on the final candidate choice. A primary is run by the state government whilst a caucus is run by the party. But ultimately they will determine the delegates who are sent to conventions to be held later in the year; the Republicans will have 2,472 delegates whilst the Democrats are expected to have 4,764.
The dates selected so far are:
1st February: Iowa caucus (both parties)
9th February: New Hampshire primary (both parties)
20th February: Nevada Democratic caucus and South Carolina Republican primary
23rd February: Nevada Republican caucus
27th February: South Carolina Democratic primary
1st March 1: Super Tuesday when 14 states hold their primaries and caucuses for both parties
The presidential election polling day is 8th November so Americans have got a pretty tedious year of politics ahead of them. There is a good explanation of the process here.