Hate Asking for One Party's Ballot? Here's How It's Done Elsewhere

Every primary election, we hear complaints from family and friends about the fact that they have to ask an election judge for a Democratic, Republican, or Green party ballot. That isn't so in other states.

<p>Scott Olson/Getty Images</p>

Every primary election, we hear complaints from family and friends about the fact that they have to ask an election judge for a Democratic, Republican, or Green party ballot. 

Some other states do run primary elections differently. We've compiled a breakdown for you below.

Open Primary: A voter can privately choose any party’s ballot to vote on. There is no need to register with a political party beforehand.

  • Alabama
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Vermont
  • Arkansas
  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • Virginia
  • Georgia
  • Mississippi
  • South Carolina
  • Wisconsin
  • Hawaii
  • Missouri
  • Texas

Partially Open: A voter can choose any party’s ballot to vote on, but must publicly declare which party’s ballot they want.

  • Illinois
  • Tennessee
  • Indiana
  • Wyoming
  • Iowa
  • Ohio

Closed Primary: A voter must register with a political party before voting on that party’s primary ballot. Independent, or unaffiliated voters, are excluded from voting.

  • Delaware
  • Nevada
  • Pennsylvania
  • Florida
  • New Mexico
  • Kentucky
  • New York
  • Maryland
  • Oregon

Top-Two Primary: The “top two” format uses a common ballot, listing all candidates on the same ballot. The top two vote getters in each race, regardless of party, advance to the general election. Top-two, nonpartisan blanket, jungle primary are used interchangeably.

  • California
  • Washington
  • Nebraska (for nonpartisan legislative races only)
  • Louisiana**

**In the case of Louisiana -- all candidates run in the general election, if a candidate receives 50 percent of the vote, they win outright. If no candidate receives 50 percent in the general, then the top two vote getters compete in a runoff election.


Sources: http://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/primary-types.aspx

https://definitions.uslegal.com/b/blanket-primary/

https://blog.ballotready.org/state-by-state/ballotready-explains-jungle-primaries-and-some-lessons-from-2016/

https://ballotpedia.org/Top-two_primary

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