The nominating process for candidates is not as straightforward as it seems. Regardless of what percentage of the vote candidates receive, they only officially become their party’s nominee after an often-overlooked group of party representatives have had their say: the delegates.

“If you walk into a ballot booth to cast your vote [in a primary], you’re not really voting for the candidate you back.” says The Atlantic’s senior politics editor Yoni Appelbaum, “You’re voting for a delegate to go to a convention and vote for that candidate.” Despite their influence on the nomination process, the role of these delegates can be confusing. The Atlantic’s Caty Green looks to clear things up.

Do you have a question about the election and how it all works? Ask us here.

Wendell Scott began his driving career in the South during the Jim Crow era. In this StoryCorps animated short, Driven, his son and grandson remember Scott’s racing days in the ‘60s and ‘70s. “It was like Picasso, like a great artist doing his work,” says his son, Frank. “But he couldn’t get the support…he did everything he did out of his own pocket.” Last year, Wendell Scott became the first African American inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The Iowa caucus kicks off the Presidential primary season. Over the 44 years that Iowa has held first-to-vote status, its caucus has developed into a key point of interest for presidential hopefuls—rewarding winners with momentum and a surge in media attention. And yet, despite its outsized role in American politics, the workings of the Iowa caucus remain mysterious to many Americans. What exactly is a caucus, and how does it proceed on the ground in Iowa? The Atlantic’s Caty Green looks to the assistant politics editor Priscilla Alvarez for answers.      

This is the first installment of a new series from The Atlantic, answering reader-submitted questions as part of our ongoing election coverage, 2016 Distilled. What do you wish you knew more about when it comes to the 2016 election? To share your questions, email