There are tons of the people that are asked how exactly a Presidential Nomination happens and unfortunately too much of the population doesn’t vote which is really and utter shame in a truly democratic system. There are people that would literally sacrifice anything to have something like this in place in their home countries.
I asked fellow co-workers and friends (all Americans!) and none could tell me so I figured there some much needed explanation required.
1) Each party/candidate submits a slate of electors to the state election board.
2) On Election Day, voters go to the polls and vote for their favorite candidate.
3) The election board counts up the votes.
4) The electoral slate associated with the candidate that received the most votes gets to cast the states electoral votes.
This method is true for 48 states. Nebraska and Maine different slightly in that electoral votes could be split based on over all vote and the congressional district winner.
There is much criticism regarding this method since it is possible that a presidential candidate could win the nomination without really having won the popular vote. This last happened in 2000’s with bush being elected. I’m sure you remember the huge controversy in Florida and the recounting. Some system is better than o system and it is somewhat representative of the political party being favored in that state. The real issue now becomes that the swing states are the favored campaign targets for candidates so there is no real campaigning done in the entrenched states of respective political parties. Also it does leave room for faithless electors among other uncertainties which has happened in the past but only very rarely.
Hopefully this helps clear some of the questions and gets you up to date on the issues. The important thing to remember is that we must use our given right to vote and elect!