Chances are, tonight you’re going to hear the term “loophole” tossed around as people discuss the returns from Illinois. That’s because Illinois is one of the last states to use the loophole primary system. Here’s how it works.

In Illinois, few of the 69 total delegates are actually part of the Winner Take All primary. According to Green Papers:

  • 12 National Convention Statewide Delegates are bound winner-take-all to the candidate receiving the largest number of votes statewide. These delegates do not appear on the ballot and are chosen at the State Convention.
  • The 3 party leaders, the National Committeeman, the National Committeewoman, and the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, will attend the convention, by virtue of their position, bound winner-take-all to the candidate receiving the largest number of votes statewide.

So, what about the other 54 delegates? That’s where the “loophole” comes in.

Along with voting for presidential candidates, you also vote for the delegates at the same time. This means you can in theory vote for John Kasich (why) in the primary, but vote for Ted Cruz’s delegates in your Congressional District’s race. This means that it is entirely possible for, say, Donald Trump to win the popular vote, and therefore those 15 delegates, but Cruz could win more Congressional Delegates. Though it is rare for such a thing to happen, that is the hope of several conservatives in Illinois and elsewhere.

The Illinois polls close at 8 EST. I highly advise keeping RedState open all night as we continue to bring you the best primary analysis on the Internet.