Kentucky Republicans to navigate uncharted territory in March 5 caucus

Kentucky Republicans to navigate uncharted territory in March 5 caucus

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Even the most seasoned Republican voter may feel a bit uneasy come March 5.

That Saturday, Republicans will forgo their familiar ballot boxes for caucus sites, where they will cast their votes in awarding the Bluegrass State's 46 presidential delegates.

Kentucky's first-ever caucus is the result of some clever political maneuvering from Sen. Rand Paul, who, according to state law, could not appear on a statewide ballot twice. A presidential caucus circumvents the rule, which allowed Paul to run for president in March while defending his U.S. senate seat on the primary ballot in May. Paul suspended his presidential campaign Feb. 3.

The logistics are different, but the process is largely the same.

Voters will cast their ballots at an assigned location, in most cases a high school gym or community center, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The majority of counties in the state have one central caucus site; larger population centers, like Jefferson and Fayette counties, have several. Find your caucus location here.

Despite the change of scenery, voting procedures remain largely unchanged. Registered Republicans just need to show an ID and sign in, then cast a ballot per usual. Unlike traditional caucuses, such as Iowa, votes are made in secret. Republicans vote by secret ballot in Iowa, while Democrats publicly state their opinions and vote.

Eleven candidates appear on the ballot, though just six remain in the field as of Feb. 25.

Pushing the contest to March makes the Commonwealth a much larger prize this time around, as the presidential nomination is traditionally sealed by the May primary. A candidate needs to secure at least 5 percent of the vote to be awarded a portion of the delegates.

Both parties head to the polls May 17 for Kentucky's traditional primary, when Democrats get their say in the presidential contest.

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