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The Rules in Primaries

Recorded on December 27, 2011

From The Heritage Foundation, I'm Ernest Istook.

Why is it that only two of seven major contenders will be on the ballot in Virginia's Republican presidential primary?

It's because our federal system allows each state and each political party to design their own method on picking a nominee for President.

The qualifications are set by the Constitution—You must be 35 years old and a natural born American citizen. But each national party tells each state how many delegates they can send to their national conventions that actually make the nomination.

Then, to pick those delegates, each state party creates its own system. If that involves an official election, then state campaign laws also come into play.

That's how Virginia can require 10,000 signatures, divided among 11 congressional districts, as a pre-condition to get on the ballot. Doing well in the polls doesn't count; you've got to be well-organized and plan ahead to qualify.

From The Heritage Foundation, I'm Ernest Istook.