As I understand it, typically the costs of conducting a presidential primary election (renting facilities, use of voting machines, labor cost of county election officials and county poll workers, etc) is borne by the county and state in which the primary is being held.

In states that employ a caucus system to conduct presidential preference selection, who bears the costs associated with those activities?

  • I googled who pays for primary elections. The first link that came up was ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/election-costs.aspx
    – user21424
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 18:34
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    Yes I had seen that before, however that citation seems to side-step the question about caucuses. They say Kansas law provides for "the State" to reimburse the counties for presidential preference primary elections, BUT then goes on to say that Kansas has not held such elections since 1992.
    – BobE
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 19:15

1 Answer 1


In states that employ a caucus system to conduct primaries (aka voter preference selection), who bears the costs associated with those activities?

This is something of an internally contradictory question. A primary and a caucus are two different things. A primary is an election paid for by the state and a caucus is a party function paid for by the party. (In Colorado, for races other than the Presidential race, one of the purposes of the caucus is to determine who gets onto the primary ballot which can also be accessed via petition.)

Certainly, when I was a treasurer of a county party organization in 2008 in Colorado, the party paid entirely for the caucus and my understanding is that this pattern is followed everywhere or almost everywhere else that party caucuses are conducted in the United States.

  • I did not intend to create a contradictory question - appreciate your clarification. Would I be correct to assume that CO did not have a presidential preference primary in 2008?
    – BobE
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 23:49
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    Neither party had a presidential preference primary in 2008 in Colorado. The Democrats had a caucus and the Republicans left assignment of party delegates to the GOP National Convention to party officials without holding either a presidential preference primary or using the caucus process to express a preference for a Presidential nominee in 2008. Rank and file Republicans in Colorado had no say whatsoever in the choice of a Republican nominee for President in 2008.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 13:45
  • again, useful and interesting info, I'll reword the question to reflect the focus is on presidential preference caucuses
    – BobE
    Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 15:18
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    This is still the answer to your reworded question. Caucuses are run (and hence paid for) by the parties. In my state, Minnesota, the caucuses are run by local party units (county or state senate district level), with support from the state party. The people who actually run the individual meetings are volunteers (which are recruited and trained by local party units, also volunteers, with materials provided by the state party).
    – PersonX
    Commented Sep 2, 2018 at 1:39

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