On Saturday, Missouri voters will decide for the second time in how many months which candidate they support for the Republican nomination. Yes, the second time. And they won't be done on Saturday, either. Here's an explanation why that is, and the rest of the details you need to know about the Missouri caucuses:
* Missouri held a primary on last month on February 7. The primary (widely referred to as a "beauty contest") didn't count because of National GOP Rules. According to Rule Nos. 15 and 16, any states that held binding primaries or caucuses before Super Tuesday, with the exceptions of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, lost half of their delegates to the Republican National Convention. This is why Florida, a state with a very large population, has the same number of delegates as Virginia; Florida voted too early. If the first Missouri contest had allocated delegates, the state would have lost half of their total. By scheduling a binding caucus after Super Tuesday, Missouri keeps all their delegates and gets in the headlines twice.
* Missouri has 52 delegates to the Republican National Convention and consists of 8 congressional districts.
* How those delegates are allocated is complex. Each county in the state will hold its own caucus. A complete schedule and list of locations is available on the Missouri GOP website. Almost every county in the state is scheduled for March 17. A few counties have already held their caucuses, and one is caucusing on Friday. The two largest counties caucus on March 24. Further, in St. Louis, voters caucus by township, rather than county-wide.
* Only registered Republican voters can participate in the county caucuses.
* Those caucuses will elect delegates to attend a congressional district convention in April. Each county sends a different number of delegates to these conventions, based on how many votes that county registered for the Republican Presidential ticket in 2008. A complete breakdown by county is available on the Missouri GOP website. The delegates elected by county are not bound to a candidate unless that caucus votes to bind them.
* The counties also elect delegates to the Missouri GOP convention in June. Each county sends the same number of delegates to both the district and state conventions.
* The eight district conventions each select three delegates, three alternates and one presidential elector (who votes in the Electoral College) to the Republican National Convention. Those delegates must identify which candidate they support before the vote, and are bound to that candidate on the first ballot at the national convention.
* The state convention in June elects a slate of 25 at-large delegates and their alternates to attend the national convention. Those delegates must identify which candidate they support before the vote, and are bound to that candidate on the first ballot at the convention. The state convention also elects two 2 at-large presidential electors.
* Finally, the remaining three delegates are state party leaders and attend the Republican National Convention unpledged.
* Due to the complicated nature of this process, it is impossible for anyone to know which candidate "won" Missouri until the June state convention. Between now and then, any of the remaining four candidates could drop out, freeing their pledged county delegates to vote for someone else.
* In the February Primary, Sen. Rick Santorum won with over 55 percent of the vote. No recent polls have been done on the current opinion of Missouri Republican voters.