Joe Biden
President Joe Biden will appear on a primary's ballot for the first time this Saturday in South Carolina. AFP

NEW YORK CITY - With the presidential election season in full force now, South Carolinians will be the next constituents to cast their ballots and decide who they think should represent each party. Democrats will try to clench their party nomination this Saturday, while Republicans will wait until Feb. 24 to close their polls. Not much suspense is expected by either party, but the primary in South Carolina is leaving its mark as the first one to officially see President Biden on its ballot.

Here's what to know for the Feb. 3 Democratic Presidential event.

Democrats and Previous Primaries

Since the 1970s, Iowa and New Hampshire have been the first states to kick off the presidential election season, with their respective caucuses and primaries. Last year, however, Biden urged the Democratic National Committee to change this tradition and make South Carolina first in its calendar.

The President argued that South Carolina would be best to start off this process, since its population is more representative of the party's voters, unlike New Hampshire or Iowa, which are primarily white.

Nevertheless, Democrats in New Hampshire went ahead with the New Hampshire primary last month, holding an unsanctioned contest without Biden on the ballot. He won anyway thanks to a homegrown write-in campaign.

Who's on the ballot?

South Carolina will be the first primary with delegates at stake. It will award 55 pledged delegates to its party convention, a fraction of the nearly 2,000 needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.

This will also be the first primary with Biden officially on the ballot. The incumbent's campaign will seek to contend low approval ratings, concerns about his age and a lingering frustration about the economy as he tries to re-energize his campaign.

Fighting for the Democratic nomination are also Minnesota congressman Dean Phillips and self-help author Marianne Williamson. Biden is expected to win the primaries' delegates, and the Democratic nomination, with no major obstacles.

In the GOP ballot, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley will face Donald Trump. While Haley has been campaigning intensely in her home state, South Carolinians have supported Trump in both the 2016 and 2020 election cycles.

Haley's hope at winning the Republican nomination decreased significantly after the former Governor and U.N ambassador failed to win the New Hampshire primaries, despite it being one of the states where she had the biggest shot.

While many Democrats and Republicans are committed to stopping Trump, this might not be enough to ensure Haley the state's delegates. Unlike New Hampshire, where there are more moderate voters not strongly tied with a party affiliation, Democrats in South Carolina twice voted against Haley for governor, which might be yet another obstacle in the politician's popularity, according to NBC News.

Who will be voting?

South Carolina is an "open" primary state, meaning anyone registered to vote in the state can choose to participate in either the Republican or Democratic contests, but not both. The state also allows 17-year-olds who will be 18 by the general election to vote in presidential primaries.

The 2020 South Carolina primary voters favored Biden by a wide margin, according to exit polls. Black voters— who tend to be more liberal despite seemingly changing trends this year— made up more than half of the Democratic primary electorate in the state that year.

When will results be announced?

Given previous results in the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primaries, as well as Biden's reputation in the state, results are expected fairly quickly after polls close at 7 pm on Saturday. In 2020, the Associated Press reported the South Carolina Democratic primary at 7:09 pm.

As per the GOP, given Trump's performance in other states, results are also expected quickly when the party's primary polls close later this month.

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