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What is a primary election?

Each state holds a Primary Election sometime between March and September to nominate candidates for the subsequent November General Election. Primary Elections allow voters to select the major party nominees for each public office for which there is an election in November.

Why should I care?

Voting in the Primary Election gives you the opportunity to help determine who will be on the General Election ballot in November. Some areas are “non-competitive,” meaning that one party usually does much better than the other party in the General Election. In these areas, the Primary Elections are likely to determine the eventual winner of the General Election. For example, a congressional district might contain thousands more Republican voters than Democratic voters. The Republican would likely win the November General Election, so the Republican Primary Election would be a key determinant of who will next hold that elected office.   

Each Primary Election helps determine the next in line to manage our governmental institutions and should be of great interest to all citizens.

When is my state's primary election?

Most state Primary Elections are held between May and September. View this calendar of state Primary Election dates to find out when your state’s Primary Election is held. This calendar also provides you with important information about voter registration deadlines and absentee ballot request deadlines in your state, along with other state voting requirements.