How to become a Republican delegate

Updated 3:31 PM ET, Wed April 27, 2016

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What's the deal with delegates?

At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer, 2,472 representatives from 50 states, Washington, D.C., and all five territories will gather to select the GOP presidential candidate. The eventual nominee will need the support of a majority of delegates — or 1,237.

What do delegates do?

Most delegates will vote for a candidate based on the results of primaries and caucuses in their states. If no candidate gets more than half the delegates — 1,237 — during the primary process, the delegates at the convention keep taking votes until someone does. If the nomination process goes multiple ballots, they will gradually be released from those requirements and, depending on their state rules, freed to vote as they choose.

Why are we hearing about delegates now?

If no candidate clinches the nomination on the first ballot, the personal preferences of the delegates could decide the race. Only about 150 delegates are unbound going into the convention, so a lot of the jockeying you're seeing is about what they might do in later rounds. For that reason, the campaigns are now trying to help get their loyal supporters elected or appointed as national delegates.

So how does a person become a Republican delegate?

Great question! Use the buttons below to see the five basic routes to Cleveland.

Last chance

For wannabe delegates who want to cast a vote on the convention floor in Cleveland, there is one other path.

First, be elected or selected as an alternate member of your state's delegation.

Then hope a voting delegate is unable to travel, oversleeps or goes missing. If that happens, an alternate (maybe you!) will take his or her place.