Everything You Need to Know About Tonight's GOP Convention Roll Call Vote

PHOTO: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump introduces his wife Melania on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.PlayAlex Wong/Getty Images
WATCH Delegates Vote to Nominate Trump For President at GOP Convention

Delegates will vote tonight to officially nominate Donald Trump as the Republican Party's nominee for president. Here's everything you need to know:

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What Are the Basics?

The Republican National Convention's afternoon session will gavel in shortly after 5:30 p.m., with the roll call coming after 6:00 p.m. The convention secretary will go one by one through the states alphabetically. The delegation chairs will briefly tout their states before announcing their states' vote totals. It should last over an hour. Since nearly all the delegates are bound, we know that Trump will win a majority of delegates. But anti-Trump backers may still stir up trouble on the floor by trying to go rogue.

So When Will Trump Actually Become the Nominee?

Not until Thursday night. Trump will not officially become the Republican Party's nominee for president until he accepts the nomination, which is slated to occur as part of his speech on Thursday night, according to the RNC counsel's office. It's like a marriage: You need an "I do" from both sides to become the nominee. The Republican convention will offer the nomination when the delegates vote, and Trump needs to accept it.

Give Me the Step by Step

1. Trump must demonstrate the support of a majority of delegates in eight states in order to be nominated on the floor. A supporter will give a short speech nominating him, and at least one supporter will give a short speech to second.

2. The secretary will start a roll call vote of the states, calling out the name of each state or jurisdiction and its number of delegates in alphabetical order.

3. States are allowed to pass. The secretary will go back through the names of the skipped states at the end.

4. Each state will announce its aggregate vote as the delegates are bound. The secretary or assistant secretary will repeat the tally and record it.

5. This year the secretary will repeat and record the votes for all candidates, including those not placed in nomination. This is different from the 2012 convention, when only Romney's votes were repeated and counted. It's a nod to inclusion.

6. After every state has voted, the convention chair will announce the tally for each candidate and declare that Trump has garnered the support of a majority of delegates eligible under the call.

Which States Will Pass During the Roll Call Vote?

States are allowed to skip their turn if they choose. On the first round of the roll call, some anti-Trump states like Colorado may skip their turn. Trump's home state of New York is expected to pass in the first round because its delegates want New York to be the state to put Trump over 1,237, the magic number for the nomination.

When Will Trump Officially Clinch the Nomination?

Trump should approach 1,237 votes about when Pennsylvania declares its totals. At that point, the rest of the states will likely skip their turns. The list will then return to the top, going through the states that passed.

When the secretary gets to the New York delegation, its votes will probably put Trump over 1,237. If any anti-Trump states skipped on the second time through the roll call, they should announce their totals in a third round.

What Can Anti-Trump Forces Do?

Delegates are allowed to protest if they think their votes weren't announced correctly. Anti-Trump forces say there will be delegates who believe they should be unbound and will try to raise trouble if their votes are counted for Trump.

It's still possible that Ted Cruz could be placed in nomination if signatures are collected from a majority of eight states. But this is unlikely, especially given how Trump staffers stripped votes from an effort to force a roll call vote on the convention's rules yesterday.

What About the Vice President?

There will not be a state-by-state vote for vice president. Mike Pence will be nominated by acclamation — which basically means the delegates will just shout their approval. This is normal. It is expected that Pence will be the only candidate placed in nomination, that is, able to demonstrate the support of a majority of delegates from eight states.

And Just for Reference: Rule 37(b). "If exception is taken by any delegate from that state to the correctness of such announcement by the chairman of that delegation, the chairman of the convention shall direct the roll of members of such delegation to be called and then shall report back the result to the convention at the conclusion of balloting by the other states. The result shall then be recorded in accordance with the vote of the several delegates in such delegation."

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