Skip to main content

Main Area

Main

How your state runs its presidential primaries

  • How your state runs its presidential primaries

    The 2018 midterm elections saw the most ballots cast since 1966, with the participation of over 47% of eligible voters. There were even districts with more voters in the midterms than in the previous presidential election. The “Super Tuesday” presidential primaries, in which a majority of districts across the United States choose party candidates for commander-in-chief, are set for March 3, 2020.

    Most states run presidential primaries, which run similarly to a general election. Primaries are organized by the particular state, and voters cast a ballot for their chosen candidate. A state's law dictates whether that primary is closed (i.e. a voter must be affiliated with a party to vote in that party's primary election), open (the voter does not need to be registered with a specific party to vote), or semi-closed (each party can choose between open or closed). However, there are a few select states that choose to run a caucus instead. A caucus is run by the political parties; members of a specific party meet, discuss, and choose a candidate to represent their party in the election.

    Former President Barack Obama urged young people to vote in a 2018 video for ATTN:, shutting down common excuses for not voting such as “I don't care about politics,” and “I don't have time to vote.” Online movements like Open Primaries and Do Something are weeding out the facts from fiction about voting in the United States for the under-informed.

    It's no secret that politics, for many Americans, can be pretty confusing. Navigating a state's government website is enough to give anyone a headache. With the primaries just under a year away, Stacker wanted to give readers important information about how each state runs its presidential primaries in a clear and succinct way. Stacker collected information from the Secretary of State and official election websites and compared facts from online political resources like Fair Vote, Election Central, and Ballotpedia. Additionally, Stacker consulted the online archives of various journalistic resources and local news sites to make sure the information was current.

     

    You might also like: History of political parties in America

  • Alabama

    Democratic primaries: open
    Republican primaries: open

    Alabama voters are not required to have a party affiliation. Voters are, however, required to declare a party affiliation at the polling place, but they will not be held to that party in the following primary. Alabama has been requiring photo identification at the polls since 2014.

  • Alaska

    Democratic primaries: closed
    Republican primaries: closed

    When it comes Alaska's presidential primaries, voters must be affiliated with a specific party to vote in the caucus. What's more, voters must be registered with their parties two months before the primaries. In Alaska, parties conduct caucuses rather than traditional primaries to find a presidential nominee, and caucuses are organized by the parties rather than the state as a whole.

  • Arizona

    Democratic primaries: closed
    Republican primaries: closed

    To be able to vote in the primaries, voters must register with a particular party a minimum of 29 days before the election in Arizona. Voters must be affiliated with a specific party to vote. A person must submit some form of identification to vote in Arizona, but the form of identification does not need to include a photograph.

  • Arkansas

    Democratic primaries: open
    Republican primaries: open

    There is no party affiliation required to vote in Arkansas. Arkansas has only been requiring photo identification to vote since 2018, but a person can still cast a provisional ballot if they don't have ID.

  • California

    Democratic primaries: semi-closed
    Republican primaries: closed

    For Republicans, voters are required to declare their party preference 15 days before the election. California voters are rarely asked to show photo identification unless it is their first time voting.

  • Colorado

    Democratic primaries: closed
    Republican primaries: closed

    Voters in Colorado must be registered with a particular party two months before the primary. A person must be affiliated with a party to vote in its caucus. For young voters, they must have turned 18 at least two months before their party's caucus in order to participate.

  • Connecticut

    Democratic primaries: closed
    Republican primaries: closed

    Voters must register with a specific party in order to vote in the caucus, and voters must register at least three months before the election. The winners are chosen based on the greatest number of votes overall, rather than the majority of votes cast.

  • Delaware

    Democratic primaries: closed
    Republican primaries: closed

    In Delaware, only voters who are registered with a party may vote in the primaries, and they must do so at least 60 days before the election. Delaware uses a plurality voting system for its presidential primaries.

  • Florida

    Democratic primaries: closed
    Republican primaries: closed

    Voters are required to pick a party within 29 days of the election in Florida. A person must be affiliated with a party to vote in its primary, and must submit both a photo ID and a signature ID at the polls.

  • Georgia

    Democratic primaries: open
    Republican primaries: open

    There is no party affiliation required to vote in Georgia. Registration can be done online or through the mail and must be submitted no less than 28 days before the election. Voters must be 18 at the time of the election and 17.5 years old at the time of registration.

2018 All rights reserved.