Talk:Primary election

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7:49, 11 January 2008 (EST)

First time edit, so I'm posting here instead of editing directly. The state of Ohio is listed as having an "Open" primary, but based on my training as a poll worker (troubleshooter) and the definitions on this page, Ohio is a "semi-open" primary. The voter declares at the polling place that they want a Democratic, a Republican, or an Issues ballot, and they are issued the ballot as appropriate. (talk) 00:52, 12 January 2008 (UTC) Glenn Chambers

Both Massachusetts and Rhode Island use what would be termed "Semi-closed" in the parlance used here, as independents may vote in either the Democratic or Republican party's election. In MA (where I once lived) an independent would have his/her party registration changed by voting in a presidentiual primary but would remain an independent (or "unenrolled" in MA's election parlance) by voting in a state primary. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:03, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

07:33, 9 January 2008 (UTC) (talk)dodo75.54.141.29 (talk) 07:33, 9 January 2008 (UTC)do–do—==Political Terms== Should this page be listed as a link on the 'Political Terms' Category?

Additionally -- I've read about Caucuses and I've read this article about Primaries, but neither 'compares and contrasts' the two. I am a British person living in America and cannot understand the difference between the two. --Fedraboy (talk) 17:31, 22 November 2007 (UTC)

Oklahoma is not included here. Oklahoma is a closed primary Glen 104 (talk) 23:36, 28 June 2016 (UTC)

Canadian Selection Process[edit]

year 5 & 6

Headline text[edit]

Aren't US primary election the Post in each state and only the party nominating convention a run-off ballot? Rmhermen 19:44 8 Jul 2003 (UTC)

I know most votes the political parties hold are not first-past-the-post. The closed primaries are never plurality. I think the open ones usually are. It's a bit of a scandal, IMO.

My question is, does the running president automatically win his primary? What if he doesn't? Daelin 1:26 16 Jan 2004 (EST)

With a very, very few exceptions, all elections in the United States are FPTP. Most Americans aren't even aware that there's another way to vote.
The party conventions do use run-offs, but by the time the conventions take place, all fifty state primaries have already been held, so the conventions are basically a show-piece - all the delegates have been committed, based on the primary results, so it's clear going in who's going to win.
The incumbent President doesn't get a "free pass", but they are not often challenged in their party, as they have a huge advantage, and the party is more concerned with "unity" against the other party than with settling any intra-party political scores. The last time I remember a sitting President facing a serious challenge in the Primary was 1980, when Edward Kennedy ran against Jimmy Carter.
If the President - or anyone else - loses in the Primaries, they can still run for President, but not as a member of that party. So, for example, if Carter lost in 1980, then Kennedy would be the Democratic nominee, , Reagan would have been the Republican, and Carter would have had to run as an independent, or form his own party. I can't recall either of these things ever happening in U.S. history. - Scooter 04:34, 24 Jan 2004 (UTC)
I don't think there has been a case of the president going with his own party, but there is Theodore Roosevelt fighting the 1912 election for the Progressive party after failing to get the republican nomination against president Howard Taft. He got more votes than Taft, but the split he caused in the Republican camp gave Democrat Woodrow Wilson an easy win. Andre Engels 21:28, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)
John Tyler is the nearest. He was expelled from the Whigs in 1841 but sought election (he'd succeeded from the Vice Presidency) in the 1844 election. A "National Democratic Tyler Convention" nominated him, with hopes to influence the Democrats to choose him though they did not take the bait (they had a former President of their own to consider!). Tyler was thus a third party candidate but dropped out in August rather than risk splitting the vote.
Otherwise Millard Filmore and Franklin Pierce lost renomination at the convention ballot. Andrew Johnson was in a similar position to Tyler but was never nominated. Grover Cleveland may have been contemplating running again in 1896 election but the Democratic convention was dominated by Free Silver interests and repudiated Cleveland's record when chosing a platform. Cleveland's name was never submitted to the ballot. Both Harry S. Truman and Lyndon Johnson withdrew after poor showings in the early primaries. Timrollpickering 20:29, 26 November 2006 (UTC)

Primary elections worldwide[edit]

Hi, after having read the article I've realized about a lack of information on primaries not held in the US. For example, a primary election will be held next October in order to decide the candidate of the opposition centre-left coalition, The Union. I guess we should someway make it explicit on the article (of course not just the Italian one, but it could be a good start). What about? Ciao. --Angelo 01:18, 25 July 2005 (UTC)

What is it called when you do this?[edit]

What is it called when you register as a member of an opposing party intending to sabotage them by nominating a bad candidate?

This is sometimes referred to as "sandbagging." 05:22, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

It is also referred to as "raiding," and is seen by political parties as one of the primary downsides to open primaries. Phillha 22:06, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

Limited geographic scope[edit]

As mentioned above, this only covers the US. Googling, I find references to primaries in Mexico, Uruguay, Italy (sometimes), etc. But worldwide it is quite an unusual system (especially in countries that weren't modelled on the US) and the article also needs to mention that. Morwen - Talk 06:44, 11 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm going to write an article about the primary elections in Italy; when it will sound ready, I'll link to this one for sure. For other countries, well, the matter is that I don't think to have the necessary knowledges. Ciao everybody. --Angelo 01:22, 7 November 2005 (UTC)
Add Israel to that list--Nitsansh 04:03, 30 March 2006 (UTC)
I've added the worldview-note. 13:44, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
This is in a way, even worse... you've pigeon-holed this article to make it completely US-centric, essentially one rather detailed US segment which should be in it's own article and then the rest of the world. Please be more neutural. -- 12:03, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

FairVote table is icky[edit]

On California's Secretary of State's website ([1]), it seems to say that:

"California currently has a "modified" closed primary system. SB 28 (Ch. 898, Stats. 2000), relating to primary elections, was chaptered on September 29, 2000 and took effect on January 1, 2001. SB 28 implemented a "modified" closed primary system that permits unaffiliated ("decline to state") voters to participate in a primary election if authorized by an individual party's rules and duly noticed by the Secretary of State. (Ch. 898, Stats. 2000)"

I believe this would be classified as a "semi-closed" primary, as defined in the article. Are people in agreement on this, and should this be changed? Or is there more recent information that suggests otherwise? TennBikeBerk 08:23, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Sounds to me like CA has a semi-closed primary. Wonder how current the cited FairVote table is? The referenced webpage wasn't dated. The Federal Election Commission (FEC)[2] used to have a very good report online listing all of the primaries by category. I cannot for the life of me find any version of their document on their website now, but the 2001 version is reprinted in John Bibby and Thomas Holbrook's chapter on Parties and Elections in the Gray and Hanson textbook Politics in the American States
Citation: Bibby, John, and Holbrook, Thomas. 2004. Politics in the American States: A Comparative Analysis, 8th Edition. Ed. Virginia Gray and Russell L. Hanson. Washington D.C.: CQ Press, p. 62-100.
Bibby and Holbrook's reprint lists CA as a semi-closed system.
If someone finds a more current version of that FEC listing, please reference it--Lord knows I've pulled my hair out trying. . . Ashleighraye 21:43, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I have taken the liberty of changing the title of this section because the questionable information in the FairVote table is not limited to California. 1) Blatant cut-n-paste job (originally)... is this violating copyright? 2) Headers (Open, Closed, Other) correspond with (poor) definitions on the reference website, but not with those in this wikipedia article. 3) Questionable information listed for California (as mentioned in above posts) 4) Incorrect information listed for Arizona (now corrected) 5) Not kept up to date with reference table. (is reference table up to date?) In short, this seems to be a pretty piss-poor excuse for credible set of data. I suspect the best way to remedy this is to go mucking through each state's legislature records (there goes my weekend).
Fishbert 04:18, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Spent another 45 minutes or so online last night looking for some better version of this table that we could just link out to. Neither the FEC or the National Council for State Legislators has the info up online. Those are the best sources I know for this sort of thing. It just doesn't seem possible that the only available source of updated info would involve doing a state by state search of current practices. In the mean time, I think that the responsible thing to do is to remove the outdated and sometimes misleading FairVote table from the main entry. Anyone see a reason to leave it up? Ashleighraye 19:24, 16 February 2007 (UTC)
I plan on devoting some time either this weekend or the next to dig through legislative records, blow away this table, and replace it with something more accurate and granularly sourced. This leads to a larger question, however, of 'will a state-by-state table require more maintenance than is practical?' I suspect it will not (provided there are adequate source references), but I've been wrong before. For the moment, though, I'd ask that it be left for a couple weeks so that I have something to work against.
Fishbert 19:05, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I see we're of a similar mind this morning. I took down the FairVote table for the reasons we've discussed. I think you're right that keeping a state by state table up to date being a nightmare project, so I just replaced the table with some general information about good resources for this kind of information. In the end, I think it might be more useful to just provide links to the webpages where states describe their primary systems. States tend to keep these pages up to date, so we wouldn't have to.
Another matter that should probably be addressed at some point: States don't always label themselves the way we could anticipate within the academic distinctions of open, closed, semi, etc. Rather, they all have their own little quirks, which can be best explained by looking at the state page. For example, Arizona lists their primary as "Open" on the page I've referenced in the main article, but pretty clearly, a system that requires registered voters to vote only in their party when that party fields a candidate should be labeled semi-closed.
I'm teaching an upper level course in parties and interest groups right now, and I've charged the class with researching primaries and adding to this entry. Let's see what they come up with. :)Ashleighraye 20:01, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood... I don't think that a state-by-state table would be a nightmare project (how often does a typical state's primary election scheme change, anyway?), but I do recognize the possibility that my assessment is wrong (and that I do not intend to babysit the thing).
Anyway, trying to mash each state's scheme into one of 2-3 labeled boxes is, in the end, of much lesser value than providing a short summary of each particular state's approach (with a proper reference link for those who desire more detail than a summary, of course). There may be value in defining the Open/Closed/Semi-Closed/etc general types of primary systems, but I think that's where the labels should stop. If we attempt to actually use the labels for anything, then we run in to the problem of having to agree on a proper definition (whereas, simply stating a given definition - or multiple definitions - causes fewer problems).
Fishbert 08:38, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, Fishbert. I didn't read carefully enough to note that you wanted the table left up for a while. I wasn't intentionally ignoring that. However, it (and all other edits to the page) remains available in the page history, so you should still be able to use it to work from. Some state primary systems do change more often than one would think, but I agree that there is some usefulness in compiling the information. As for whether or not we try to classify the states as open / closed, etc.--I think that kind of depends on your audience. For the average consumer just interested in researching the election procedure for their state, it probably matters very little how the primary would be classified academically. However, for students and strategists who look at the states comparatively, these categories ARE meaningful. They help us understand things like relative importance of parties in the states, political culture, etc. I won't get into this further now, because I'm a bit pressed on time, but I did want to note that I think that there is value in providing both detailed info about the state election procedures and in assigning the states to academically agreed upon categories. --Ashleighraye 16:24, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Maybe this comment should be in a new section, but it seems relevant to the current thread, so I post here. I think before trying to classify various types of primaries as open/closed/etc., maybe we should start with definitions for qualifying versus party primaries. These are very different in nature, because generally a qualifying primary is run as "non-partisan," i.e., there are no political party affiliations printed on the ballot, and even if there are parties producing candidates for a non-partisan election, there is nothing stopping them from sending multiple candidates to the ballot since parties are not officially recognized in these elections. A qualifying primary produces the run-off candidates for a general election.
The other type of primary is a party primary, and certainly you could have subdivisions like open/closed/semi-open and the like for those. My point is just that the main division is between these partisan versus non-partisan elections.
I also wouldn't mind if such shrift would kindly point out that the term "non-partisan" itself is a bit confusing. There is nothing that stops anyone from promoting or being promoted by a party -- to do otherwise would be to subvert individuals' right to free association. Non-partisan just means that the clerk overseeing the election will not place any party affiliations by candidate's names on the ballot.
However, I realize that this is only my US-centric view, having lived and registered in about a dozen states. Non-partisan means pretty much the same anywhere in the US. But it could be different in other countries; perhaps participants in such races much agree to spurn their own political affillations or such. I wouldn't know. (talk) 00:17, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
I agree, FairVote is icky in a number of ways.
You mean the Fairvote Table, of course. The organization itself is good, having worked with them on an actual campaign. (talk) 00:17, 16 June 2017 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure you'll all agree that The Green Papers can be used instead, once you see them.
Presidential Primaries 2008:
Naturally, with the usual caveat that interested voters should contact their own governments for details, yadda yadda
RVJ 21:40, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
No, The Green Papers may not be used. Information on their site is limited to presidential primary elections, while the article is not (except in one tiny place).
Fishbert (talk) 08:50, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Applicable Law[edit]

What law, if any, governs primaries (in the US): Federal or State? Is voting in a primary restricted to just citizens, or can anyone (any resident) vote? (presumably for closed primaries that non-citizen would need to be a party member -- and the parties themselves could impose restrictions). --dpuu —Preceding comment was added at 23:44, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Which parties?[edit]

The whole primary election system is quite alien to me, so please forgive me this question: do parties by law have to use the primary election system to determine their candidates in the US, or is it just an agreement between the Democrats and Republicans to hold their candidate elections on the same day in each state? In states where primaries are – as the article seems to indicate – regulated by state law, can other parties opt out of using the primary election system? Do they? I think the article should clarify this in some way. – gpvos (talk) 20:08, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

In any state a political party can choose not to participate in the state-run primaries and choose their candidates however they wish. They then comply with the state requirements for being listed on the ballot, usually by presenting signatures of a certain number of registered voters or paying a fee. (talk) 15:17, 22 November 2014 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure Iowa is first in the nation for primaries[edit]

Or Iowa goes the same time as New Hampshire. This isn't mentioned anywhere on the page. I'd add it myself, but I have no source.-- (talk) 04:40, 10 December 2007 (UTC)

Iowa isn't a primary. It's a caucus.--Ashleighraye (talk) 16:29, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


It think it would be useful if a short explanation was given, in this article, on how the caucus election system works. I followed the hyperlink but the explanation is very long winded and I am still not sure whether a caucus election is held by secret ballot or by show of hands. I am listening to the BBC and they seem to be suggesting that the caucus system election are by show of hands and not through a vote in a booth. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:17, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Use of Public Fund (Tax)[edit]

Could any one add explanation as to why the tax money is used to choose party nominees in the U.S.? I believe in most other countries, choosing party nominees is the party's internal affair and no public fund is used. What is the rationale of using public fund and when has this practice started? I am having hard time understanding U.S. election system. (talk) 06:12, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

I fully agree with this issue. In Georgia, we have "semi-open" primary elections, where you must declare your party as you vote. You get one ballot, with no possibility of mixing parties.

I resent paying for this as a taxpayer. If the parties want to have their own little elections, then let them sign up members and pay for it themselves. If the taxpayers are going to pay for it, then we ought to be able to vote for whomever we like for each office. If I am more inclined to vote for the person than the party, I should have that right at the primary level as well, as long as I'm paying for the election!

If you end up with only republicans or only democrats running for a specific office, then its very unlikely the opposition had a chance, anyway.

The party system has both a lot going for it and a lot of problems as well. But the biggest problem is that the the election process should be set up to be as party-neutral as possible. All of the angles and manipulations used to try and "lock up" the process are flat out dishonest and should be illegal. They're a hundred times worse than somebody with a sign standing too close outside a polling place. How do we get things moving in a better direction? (talk) 19:24, 19 July 2010 (UTC)

Candidates on the ballot paper[edit]

It would be good to have an explanation of how the candidates are chosen to appear on the ballot papers. From the Michigan Democrats site:

7. The Democratic ballot will have 6 choices:
Hillary Clinton
Christopher Dodd
Mike Gravel
Dennis Kucinich

8. A vote for “uncommitted” is a vote to send delegates to the Democratic National
Convention who are not committed or pledged to any candidate. Those delegates can
vote for any candidate they choose at the Convention.

9. Supporters of Joe Biden, John Edwards, Barack Obama and Bill Richardson are urged
to vote “uncommitted” instead of writing in their candidates’ names because write-in
votes for those candidates will not be counted under state law.

From here in the UK, it seems very strange that not all the front runners are included and even the write-in option does not work. -- (talk) 10:19, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

The exact rules are complicated and differ from state-to-state. It is probably a research project to figure them out and present them comprehensively. jhawkinson (talk) 15:31, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

The result reporting shows that some Democrat contenders withdrew because the result won't count:

Michigan doesn't typically hold its primary until February but state party officials scheduled it earlier to try to give the state more say in picking a president. The Republican National Committee objected and cut the number of Michigan delegates to the national convention by half as punishment while the Democratic National Committee stripped the state of all 128 delegates to its national convention. -- (talk) 06:53, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Is the Georgian systemn open or semi-open?[edit]


as of now, the article says that Georgia has an "open system", but this official site :[3] says:

"Each voter will complete a voter certificate when entering their polling place. On the certificate the voter will check, in the appropriate box, the political party’s ballot the voter chooses to vote, then give the certificate to a poll worker.

The poll worker will request to see one of the required forms of photo ID from the voter, then mark on the voter's certificate the type of ID displayed. The poll worker will verify that the voter is the person pictured on the ID and verify that the voter is in the correct voting location. Then the poll worker will place a voter access card into the ExpressPoll unit, encoding the card with the political party’s ballot chosen by the voter."

Doesn't this mean Georgia has a semi-open system? Evilbu (talk) 21:50, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

are these dates?[edit]

Alabama - Open Primary (2/5). Deadline (10 Days - 1/26).

If these numbers are dates, could they be written in a format everyone can understand? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:46, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Done. Austrian (talk) 10:50, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

Registered party member or registered party voter ?[edit]

I am confused by the use of the term "registered party member" used in the article to refer to voters in US primary elections. As far as I understand, something like two-thirds of all voters in the US are registered as Democrats or Republicans. I doubt however that either the Republican party or the Democratic party each have over 70 or 80 million card-carrying, due-paying members (in fact, no political party in the world has that many "members" !).

Maybe it is just an arcane matter of terminology, but I think the distinction is important to non-US readers. In Canada for example, the selection of federal party leaders (the "de facto" prime-ministerial candidates of each party under the parliamentary system ) is not decided, like in US primaries, by the general voting population, being a matter left instead to party organizations alone. Most Canadian federal parties do hold however some kind of internal election (in different formats) where party members only ( basically, a few hundred thousand people across the country) vote for their preferred candidate for the party leadership. When the Wikipedia article refers to US primaries as open to "registered party members" as opposed to registered voters (as in the general voting population) who declare themselves supporters of a certain party, a Canadian or a British reader may get a wrong idea of how the process works.

I would be glad if editors of this page could comment on my remarks. (talk) 12:30, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Move "primaries by state" to the US-article?[edit]

I'm a bit confused about the scope of this article compared to the United States presidential primary-article. If the idea is that this article is about primary elections in general, wouldn't it be better to at least move the "Presidential primary election by state"-section to the United States presidential primary"-article? The way I see it that would make more sense, since the primaries by state is a subordinate to US presidential primaries, and US presidential primaries is subordinate to Primary elections. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:31, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Semi-open vs semi-closed[edit]

What's the difference between a semi-closed primary and a semi-open one? According to common sense, and, from what I can tell, this page, they're identical. (talk) 17:03, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Article overhaul: creation of a section on Europe[edit]

This article is supposed to be about primary elections in general but it actually only focused on the US case. So I decided to add a section on Europe, and to adjust correspondingly the introduction and the section I (Types). I then distinguished a Section II on Primaries in the US. Section III is about Europe. Section IV about Primaries worldwide. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Julien-223 (talkcontribs) 21:29, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Bulgarian primary election for Democratic presidential candidate in 1996[edit]

Here's a source, that's the only open primary to have been conducted in Bulgaria so far:

They had a primary again yesterday, 12 June 2011, for mayor of Sofia and Presidential candidates. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:32, 13 June 2011 (UTC)


This article needs to be updated. It still lists the primary dates for 2008, and even says that some of their dates may be subject to change. Obviously, they have already happened, and the article should be updated to have the 2012 dates. Alphius (talk) 20:34, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Tagged article for update and warning of outdated information. Veriss (talk) 22:50, 11 February 2012 (UTC)

--still outdated as of 2/22.... Should contain up-to-date dates for primaries. The following dates are from the washington post but sourced to the AP. perhaps someone could Copy these dates into the wiki article

Ariz. 29 Contest on Feb. 28Winner take all Mich. 30 Contest on Feb. 28Hybrid proportional Wash. 43 Contest on March 3Non-binding Alaska 27 Contest on March 6Proportional Ga. 76 Contest on March 6Proportional Idaho 32 Contest on March 6Non-binding Mass. 41 Contest on March 6Proportional N.D. 28 Contest on March 6Proportional Ohio 66 Contest on March 6Hybrid proportional Okla. 43 Contest on March 6Proportional Tenn. 58 Contest on March 6Proportional Vt. 17 Contest on March 6Hybrid proportional Va. 49 Contest on March 6Hybrid proportional Kan. 40 Contest on March 10Hybrid proportional N. Mar. 9 Contest on March 10Direct election Virgin I. 9 Contest on March 10Direct election Wyo. 29 Contest on March 10Non-binding Guam 9 Contest on March 11Direct election Ala. 50 Contest on March 13Proportional Am. Sam. 9 Contest on March 13Direct election Hawaii 20 Contest on March 13Proportional Miss. 40 Contest on March 13Proportional Mo. 52 Contest on March 17Non-binding P.R. 23 Contest on March 18Winner take all Ill. 69 Contest on March 20Direct election La. 46 Contest on March 24Proportional D.C. 19 Contest on April 3Winner take all Md. 37 Contest on April 3Winner take all Tex. 155 Contest on April 3Proportional Wis. 42 Contest on April 3Winner take all Conn. 28 Contest on April 24Proportional Del, 17 Contest on April 24Winner take all N.Y. 95 Contest on April 24Proportional Penn. 72 Contest on April 24Direct election R.I. 19 Contest on April 24Proportional Ind. 46 Contest on May 8Hybrid winner take all N.C. 55 Contest on May 8Proportional W. Va. 31 Contest on May 8Direct election Neb. 35 Contest on May 15Advisory Ore. 28 Contest on May 15Proportional Ark. 36 Contest on May 22Proportional Ky. 45 Contest on May 22Proportional Calif. 172 Contest on June 5Winner take all Mont. 26 Contest on June 5Non-binding N.J. 50 Contest on June 5Winner take all N.M. 23 Contest on June 5Proportional S.D. 28 Contest on June 5Proportional Utah 40 Contest on June 26Winner take all SOURCE: AP; Staff reports; GRAPHIC: Sisi Wei, Dan Keating, Karen Yourish and Aaron Blake, The Washington Post. Published Jan. 11, 2012. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Melaniedyer (talkcontribs) 11:50, 22 February 2012 (UTC)

U.S. mandated public nominating primaries VS private member party primaries[edit]

This article fails to differentiate clearly between the more common, from an international perspective, private, member based, party primaries, and most U.S. primaries. Most U.S. primaries are controlled by state law. State law in the U.S. often mandates nominating primaries. These mandated primaries include both state seats, as well as Federal House and Senate seats. It should be pointed out more clearly that no party organization controls who runs under a ballot label. Candidates that meet the legal requirements to run in mandated nominating primaries are free to choose whatever ballot labels are available. This has major consequences for any U.S. national or state party platforms.

"Here in the last generation, a development has taken place which finds an analogy nowhere else. American parties
have ceased to be voluntary associations like trade unions or the good government clubs or the churches. They have lost
the right freely to determine how candidates shall be nominated and platforms framed, even who shall belong to the party and
who shall lead it. The state legislatures have regulated their structure and functions in great detail."

Source: American Parties and Elections,
by Edward Sait, 1927 (Page 174)
Quoted from: The tyranny of the two-party system,
by Lisa Jane Disch c2002

See also Wikipedia Overview of ballot access

ref article: What is a Political Party?

Warning: Polemic Article!

Stewjack (talk) 21:40, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for bringing up this point; I wanted to start a section on this also. But not only could it be confusing from an international perspective, as pointed out by the OP of this section, but it is also a confusing matter within the U.S. Frequently, the term "primary election" is used interchangeably between two very, very distinct types of elections. One kind is a party election where voters registered to a party nominate their candidate; this might be called a "party primary," the loss of control of which by the various parties is lamented, very appropriately, in the Sait quote, above. But the election in which nominees (even in so-called non-partisan races) run against each other may also be called a "primary," depending on exactly which jurisdiction and type of office the election is for, and this would precede a so-called "general election," (more likely actually a run-off) a term which unfortunately was not referred to much in the article.

Further confusing issues is the poorly-named "run-off primary," which may be confused with certain elections subsequent to a general election. One example might be an election between the top-two vote-getters in a general election. This is also, unfortunately, called a run-off. I think it would be good to point this out as an aside in the run-off primary paragraph so that readers understand this word is used two completely different ways in our system.

Now, I know some of you are going to immediately say, geez louise, that's just what the OP said so why are you repeating it? I understand, and here's why I am explicitly going through this: The OP of this section was pointing out the fact that "party primaries" (as I define that term, for reference) are no longer firmly in control of the parties themselves. This is an increasingly sad and worrisome true fact in itself. I just wanted to clarify actual taxonomical confusions that his very accurate first sentence therefore implies. It is nearly impossible to have any discussion of the threat of "open primaries" without this confusion arising; I know because in Arizona, we have had many rounds of that conversation!

I would like to suggest, if someone were open to doing some heavy re-writes, that these two confusing areas of the terminology ("party primary" versus a primary preceding a general election AND the "run-off primary" versus general election run-off) might be EXPLICITLY clarified so readers of this article will be aware of just how many tools these give to those who knowingly conflate these entirely different types of elections (and believe me, they take full advantage of it!).

I am sure there are sources for the issues I mention, but I am not sure they are necessary until the main page is updated, should that happen. (talk) 09:28, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

Merging all U.S. states presidential primary and election articles[edit]

You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Republican Party presidential primaries, 2012#Merging all U.S. states presidential primary and election articles into one article for each state. The proposal is to merge all articles on different state primaries (both democratic and republican) and the articles on the presidential election (where such exist) in to one single article for each state. See United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 2008 It is possible to see how the 2008 and 2012 articles will look like if this large merges was completed. This issue have been discussed for a month on this talkpage without a clear consensus and the merge proposal is so massive that it would be good to get a wide range of editors to comment on it. Jack Bornholm (talk) 17:01, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

Impact of recent student edits[edit]

This article has recently been edited by students as part of their course work for a university course. As part of the quality metrics for the education program, we would like to determine what level of burden is placed on Wikipedia's editors by student coursework.

If you are an editor of this article who spent time correcting edits to it made by the students, please tell us how much time you spent on cleaning up the article. Please note that we are asking you to estimate only the negative effects of the students' work. If the students added good material but you spent time formatting it or making it conform to the manual of style, or copyediting it, then the material added was still a net benefit, and the work you did improved it further. If on the other hand the students added material that had to be removed, or removed good material which you had to replace, please let us know how much time you had to spend making those corrections. This includes time you may have spent posting to the students' talk pages, or to Wikipedia noticeboards, or working with them on IRC, or any other time you spent which was required to fix problems created by the students' edits. Any work you did as a Wikipedia Ambassador for that student's class should not be counted.

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Misleading to list California as "semi-closed"[edit]

For most races California has a nonpartisan primary (except that party affiliation is listed on the ballot) and uses two-round voting. For president, and some other detail that few people really care about (party central committees, maybe?) it has a closed primary. That could be described as "semi-closed", but not in the same sense explained in the section. (I seem to recall that maybe parties can choose to allow their presidential primary to be semi-closed in that sense, but that it's up to the party.) --Trovatore (talk) 04:09, 22 February 2013 (UTC)


When were primaries first used? Where? When did they become common elsewhere? What system did they replace? Why? --Dan Wylie-Sears 2 (talk) 00:47, 12 June 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Why is Hillary Clinton the big banner header image on mobile?[edit]

It's offensive that one would suggest that she is the main player in any primary. Any debate before the primaries. Any polling booth. Just about anything would be better than picking one candidate. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:190:4201:57B8:B904:A910:35BA:D4C8 (talk) 23:35, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Outdated information[edit]

"Closed primaries happen in many European countries, while open primaries have so far only occurred in the socialist and social-democratic parties in Greece and Italy, whereas the France's Socialist Party organised the first open primary in France in October 2011."

At least two parties in Spain (Izquierda Unida, and EQUO) have had primary elections, as well as many local non-party candidacies. --NiKo-TiNa (talk) 12:43, 16 November 2015 (UTC)


Why is there no mention of Australia because at least the ALP and the Nationals in NSW have experimented with primary-style preselections. (talk) 08:06, 17 February 2017 (UTC)