Democrats are voting and caucusing for their candidate of choice to take on Donald Trump this fall.
Each of those contests allocates delegates for this summer’s Democratic National Convention. Ultimately, the Democratic Party divides 3,979 delegates; the states, according to different rules set by state parties, then award these to candidates. A key number to understand is 15%, which is usually the percentage of the vote a candidate must receive in a given area to gain delegates. (That’s why, for instance, a candidate who comes in fourth with 7% doesn’t get delegates.)
Traditionally, when a candidate wins the majority of delegates — 1,991 — they secure the party’s nomination.
Sometimes, however, no candidate wins an outright delegate majority. Over the last several decades, as parties have moved away from machine politics and more toward democratically elected primaries, the candidate with the most delegates has ended up as the nominee — even if they only have a plurality. Still, there is a remote chance that, without a majority candidate, Democratic delegates could end up choosing the nominee at the summer’s convention.
Either way, the delegate count is important, and we're tracking them for you here:
Thumbnail illustration by BuzzFeed News; Getty Images (6).