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A primary election is an election in which party members or voters select candidates for a subsequent election. Primary elections are one means by which a political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 nominates candidates for the next general election
General election
In a parliamentary political system, a general election is an election in which all or most members of a given political body are chosen. The term is usually used to refer to elections held for a nation's primary legislative body, as distinguished from by-elections and local elections.The term...

.

Primaries are common in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, where their origins are traced to the progressive movement
Progressivism in the United States
Progressivism in the United States is a broadly based reform movement that reached its height early in the 20th century and is generally considered to be middle class and reformist in nature. It arose as a response to the vast changes brought by modernization, such as the growth of large...

. Primary elections in many countries are the responsibility of the political party organizations themselves and does not involve the general public. In some places, however, primary elections may be run by the government.

Besides primaries, other ways that parties may select candidates include caucus
Caucus
A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a political party or movement, especially in the United States and Canada. As the use of the term has been expanded the exact definition has come to vary among political cultures.-Origin of the term:...

es, conventions
Political convention
In politics, a political convention is a meeting of a political party, typically to select party candidates.In the United States, a political convention usually refers to a presidential nominating convention, but it can also refer to state, county, or congressional district nominating conventions...

, and nomination meetings. Historically, Canadian political parties chose their candidates in party meetings in each constituency. Canadian party leaders are elected at leadership convention
Leadership convention
In Canadian politics, a leadership convention is held by a political party when the party needs to choose a leader due to a vacancy or a challenge to the incumbent leader.- Overview :...

s, although some parties have abandoned this practice in favour of one member, one vote
One member, one vote
One member, one vote , as used in the parliamentary politics of the United Kingdom, Canada, and the Canadian provinces, is a proposal to select party leaders and/or determine party policy, by a direct vote of the members of each party...

 systems.

Types


Most countries in which primary elections are organized by parties, not the administration, generally distinguish only two types of primaries:
  • Closed primary (synonyms: internal primaries, party primaries). In the case of closed primaries, internal primaries, or party primaries, only party members can vote.
  • Open primary. All voters can take part in an open primary, but the party may require them to express their support to the party's values and pay a small contribution to the costs of the primary.


In the United States, other types can be differentiated:
  • Closed primary. People may vote in a party's primary only if they are registered members of that party. Independents cannot participate. Note that because some political parties name themselves independent, the term "non-partisan" often replaces "independent" when referring to those who are not affiliated with a political party.
  • Semi-closed. As in closed primaries, registered party members can vote only in their own party's primary. Semi-closed systems, however, allow unaffiliated voters to participate as well. Depending on the state, independents either make their choice of party primary privately, inside the voting booth, or publicly, by registering with any party on Election Day.
  • Open primary. A registered voter may vote in any party primary regardless of his own party affiliation. When voters do not register with a party before the primary, it is called a pick-a-party primary because the voter can select which party's primary he or she wishes to vote in on election day. Because of the open nature of this system, a practice known as raiding
    Party Raiding
    Party Raiding is the term for members of one political party voting in another party's primary in an effort to either nominate a weaker candidate or at the very least prolong divided support between two or more contenders for that party's nomination .Party raiding can only occur in jurisdictions...

     may occur. Raiding consists of voters of one party crossing over
    Crossover voting
    In open primary elections in the United States, crossover voting refers to a behavior in which voters who normally participate in the primary of one party instead vote in the primary of another party...

     and voting in the primary of another party, effectively allowing a party to help choose its opposition's candidate. The theory is that opposing party members vote for the weakest candidate of the opposite party in order to give their own party the advantage in the general election. An example of this can be seen in the 1998 Vermont senatorial primary with the nomination of Fred Tuttle
    Fred Tuttle
    Frederick Herman "Fred" Tuttle was an American dairy farmer, film actor and one-time candidate for the U.S. Senate from the state of Vermont. He was born in Tunbridge, Vermont, and lived there all his life, except for his service in the United States Army during World War II.Tuttle left high...

     as the Republican candidate in the general election.
  • Semi-open. A registered voter need not publicly declare which political party's primary that they will vote in before entering the voting booth. When voters identify themselves to the election officials, they must request a party's specific ballot. Only one ballot is cast by each voter. In many states with semi-open primaries, election officials or poll workers from their respective parties record each voter's choice of party and provide access to this information. The primary difference between a semi-open and open primary system is the use of a party-specific ballot. In a semi-open primary, a public declaration in front of the election judges is made and a party-specific ballot given to the voter to cast. Certain states that use the open-primary format may print a single ballot and the voter must choose on the ballot itself which political party's candidates they will select for a contested office.
  • Run-off. A primary in which the ballot is not restricted to one party and the top two candidates advance to the general election regardless of party affiliation. (A run-off differs from a primary in that a second round is only needed if no candidate attains a majority in the first round.)


There are also mixed systems in use. In West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

, where state law allows parties to determine whether primaries are open to independents, Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 primaries are open to independents, while Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 primaries were closed. However, as of April 1, 2007, West Virginia's Democratic Party opened its voting to allow "individuals who are not affiliated with any existing recognized party to participate in the election process".

Non-partisan


Primaries can be used in nonpartisan
Political Parties
Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical Tendencies of Modern Democracy is a book by sociologist Robert Michels, published in 1911 , and first introducing the concept of iron law of oligarchy...

 elections to reduce the set of candidates that go on to the general election (qualifying primary). (In the U.S., many city, county and school board elections are non-partisan.) Generally, if a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the primary, he or she is automatically elected, without having to run again in the general election. If no candidate receives a majority, twice as many candidates pass the primary as can win in the general election, so a single seat election primary would allow the top two primary candidates to participate in the general election following.

When a qualifying primary is applied to a partisan election, it becomes what is generally known as a Louisiana primary: typically, if no candidate wins a majority
Majority
A majority is a subset of a group consisting of more than half of its members. This can be compared to a plurality, which is a subset larger than any other subset; i.e. a plurality is not necessarily a majority as the largest subset may consist of less than half the group's population...

 in the primary, the two candidates receiving the highest pluralities, regardless of party affiliation, go on to a general election
General election
In a parliamentary political system, a general election is an election in which all or most members of a given political body are chosen. The term is usually used to refer to elections held for a nation's primary legislative body, as distinguished from by-elections and local elections.The term...

 that is in effect a run-off. This often has the effect of eliminating minor parties
Third party (United States)
The term third party is used in the United States for any and all political parties in the United States other than one of the two major parties . The term can also refer to independent politicians not affiliated with any party at all and to write-in candidates.The United States has had a...

 from the general election, and frequently the general election becomes a single-party election. Unlike a plurality voting system
Plurality voting system
The plurality voting system is a single-winner voting system often used to elect executive officers or to elect members of a legislative assembly which is based on single-member constituencies...

, a run-off system meets the Condorcet loser criterion
Condorcet loser criterion
In single-winner voting system theory, the Condorcet loser criterion is a measure for differentiating voting systems. It implies the majority loser criterion....

 in that the candidate that ultimately wins would not have been beaten in a two way race with every one of the other candidates.

Because many Washington residents were disappointed over the loss of their blanket primary, which the Washington State Grange helped institute in 1935, the Grange filed Initiative
Initiative
In political science, an initiative is a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote...

 872 in 2004 to establish a Louisiana or Top 2 primary for partisan races, thereby allowing voters to once again cross party lines in the primary election. The two candidates with the most votes then advance to the general election, regardless of their party affiliation. Supporters claimed it would bring back voter choice; opponents said it would exclude third parties
Third party (United States)
The term third party is used in the United States for any and all political parties in the United States other than one of the two major parties . The term can also refer to independent politicians not affiliated with any party at all and to write-in candidates.The United States has had a...

 and independents from general election ballots, could result in Democrat or Republican-only races in certain districts, and would in fact reduce voter choice. The initiative was put to a public vote in November 2004 and passed. On July 15, 2005, the initiative was found unconstitutional by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The Supreme Court heard the Grange's appeal of the case in October 2007. In March 2008, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality the Grange-sponsored Top 2 primary; the first election under the system was held in August 2008.

Open primaries have also been placed to the voters in California (as Proposition 62
California Proposition 62 (2004)
Proposition 62 was a California ballot proposition on the November 2, 2004 ballot. It failed to pass with 5,119,155 votes in favor and 5,968,770 against....

), but failed after heavy advertising from the established political parties bringing up the specter of the Louisiana primary and of the 2002 French presidential election
French presidential election, 2002
The 2002 French presidential election consisted of a first round election on 21 April 2002, and a runoff election between the top two candidates on 5 May 2002. This presidential contest attracted a greater than usual amount of international attention because of Le Pen's unexpected appearance in...

.

In elections using voting system
Voting system
A voting system or electoral system is a method by which voters make a choice between options, often in an election or on a policy referendum....

s where strategic nomination
Strategic nomination
Strategic nomination is the manipulation of an election through its candidate set...

 is a concern, primaries can be very important in preventing "clone" candidates that split their constituency's vote because of their similarities. Primaries allow political parties to select and unite behind one candidate. However, tactical voting
Tactical voting
In voting systems, tactical voting occurs, in elections with more than two viable candidates, when a voter supports a candidate other than his or her sincere preference in order to prevent an undesirable outcome.It has been shown by the Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem that any voting method which is...

 is sometimes a concern in non-partisan primaries as members of the opposite party can strategically vote for the weaker candidate
Party Raiding
Party Raiding is the term for members of one political party voting in another party's primary in an effort to either nominate a weaker candidate or at the very least prolong divided support between two or more contenders for that party's nomination .Party raiding can only occur in jurisdictions...

 in order to face an easier general election.

Presidential


In the United States, Iowa
Iowa caucus
The Iowa caucuses are an electoral event in which residents of the U.S. state of Iowa meet in precinct caucuses in all of Iowa's 1784 precincts and elect delegates to the corresponding county conventions. There are 99 counties in Iowa and thus 99 conventions...

 and New Hampshire
New Hampshire primary
The New Hampshire primary is the first in a series of nationwide political party primary elections held in the United States every four years , as part of the process of choosing the Democratic and Republican nominees for the presidential elections to be held the subsequent November.Although only a...

 have drawn attention every four years because they hold the first caucus
Caucus
A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a political party or movement, especially in the United States and Canada. As the use of the term has been expanded the exact definition has come to vary among political cultures.-Origin of the term:...

 and primary election, respectively, and often give a candidate the momentum to win the nomination.

A criticism of the current presidential primary election schedule is that it gives undue weight to the few states with early primaries, as those states often build momentum for leading candidates and rule out trailing candidates long before the rest of the country has even had a chance to weigh in, leaving the last states with virtually no actual input on the process. The counterargument to this criticism, however, is that, by subjecting candidates to the scrutiny of a few early states, the parties can weed out candidates who are unfit for office.

The Democratic National Committee
Democratic National Committee
The Democratic National Committee is the principal organization governing the United States Democratic Party on a day to day basis. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign and political activity in support...

 (DNC) proposed a new schedule and a new rule set for the 2008 Presidential primary elections. Among the changes: the primary election cycle would start nearly a year earlier than in previous cycles, states from the West and the South would be included in the earlier part of the schedule, and candidates who run in primary elections not held in accordance with the DNC's proposed schedule (as the DNC does not have any direct control over each state's official election schedules) would be penalized by being stripped of delegate
Delegate
A delegate is a person who speaks or acts on behalf of an organization at a meeting or conference between organizations of the same level A delegate is a person who speaks or acts on behalf of an organization (e.g., a government, a charity, an NGO, or a trade union) at a meeting or conference...

s won in offending states. The New York Times called the move, "the biggest shift in the way Democrats have nominated their presidential candidates in 30 years."

Of note regarding the DNC's proposed 2008 Presidential primary election schedule is that it contrasted with the Republican National Committee
Republican National Committee
The Republican National Committee is an American political committee that provides national leadership for the Republican Party of the United States. It is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. It is...

's (RNC) rules regarding Presidential primary elections. "No presidential primary, caucus, convention, or other meeting may be held for the purpose of voting for a presidential candidate and/or selecting delegates or alternate delegates to the national convention, prior to the first Tuesday of February in the year in which the national convention is held." In , this date is February .
2011

In California, under Proposition 14, a measure that easily passed, traditional party primaries will be replaced in 2011 with wide-open elections.
2010

Oregon became the first American state in which a binding primary election was conducted entirely via the internet. The election was held by the Independent Party of Oregon
Independent Party of Oregon
The Independent Party of Oregon is a political party in the U.S. state of Oregon. The IPO is Oregon's third-largest political party and the largest minor party of the state, with 68,516 registrants since its inception in January 2007 making up 3.37% of Oregon's registered voters...

 in July, 2010.
2008

For information about a particular state's primary system as of January 2008, see list below. The best source of up-to-date information is often the official website of the state in question, but this can be hard to find. For example, California lists detailed information about its current "modified closed" (i.e. semi-closed) system on the California state website. Similarly, information on the Arizona semi-closed primary system can be found on the Arizona state website. For Presidential candidate delegate assignment, however, Arizona conducts a Presidential Preference Election (PPE), distinguishing the contest from the state's primary election laws. Arizona's PPE is closed to those not registered with a state-recognized party.
  • Alabama
    Alabama
    Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

     - Open Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (10 Days - Jan 26).
  • Alaska
    Alaska
    Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

     - Caucuses (Feb 5). Deadline (30 Days - Jan 6).
  • Arizona
    Arizona
    Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

     - Closed PPE (Feb 5). Deadline (30 Days - Jan 6).
  • Arkansas
    Arkansas
    Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

     - Open Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (30 Days - Jan 6).
  • California
    California
    California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

     - Semi-Open Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (15 Days - Jan 22).
  • Colorado
    Colorado
    Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

     - Caucuses (Feb 5). Deadline (29 Days - Jan 7). (For Democrats, the deadline to register is Feb 5)
  • Connecticut
    Connecticut
    Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

     - Closed Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (12 Noon, Feb 4).
  • Delaware
    Delaware
    Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

     - Closed Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (24 Days - Jan 12).
  • District of Columbia - Primary (Feb 12). Deadline (30 Days - Jan 13)
  • Florida
    Florida
    Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

     - Closed Primary (Jan 29). Deadline (29 Days - Jan 1).
  • Georgia
    Georgia (U.S. state)
    Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

     - Open Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (Jan 7).
  • Hawaii
    Hawaii
    Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

     - Open Caucuses (Mar 2). Deadline (30 Days - Feb 1).
  • Idaho
    Idaho
    Idaho is a state in the Rocky Mountain area of the United States. The state's largest city and capital is Boise. Residents are called "Idahoans". Idaho was admitted to the Union on July 3, 1890, as the 43rd state....

     - Open Primary (May 27). Deadline (May 2 for pre registration. Registration allowed on Election Day).
  • Illinois
    Illinois
    Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

     - Semi-Open Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (27 Days - Jan 9).
  • Indiana
    Indiana
    Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

     - Open Primary (May 6). Deadline (28 Days - Apr 9).
  • Iowa
    Iowa
    Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern United States, an area often referred to as the "American Heartland". It derives its name from the Ioway people, one of the many American Indian tribes that occupied the state at the time of European exploration. Iowa was a part of the French colony of New...

     - Caucus
    Iowa caucus
    The Iowa caucuses are an electoral event in which residents of the U.S. state of Iowa meet in precinct caucuses in all of Iowa's 1784 precincts and elect delegates to the corresponding county conventions. There are 99 counties in Iowa and thus 99 conventions...

     (Jan 3). Deadline (10 days - Dec 24, 2007).
  • Kansas
    Kansas
    Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

     - Caucuses (Feb 9). Deadline (15 Days - Jan 25).
  • Kentucky
    Kentucky
    The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

     - Closed Primary (May 20). Deadline for new registrations (28 Days - Apr 22). Deadline for party switch (Dec 31, 2007)
  • Louisiana
    Louisiana
    Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

     - Caucus (Feb 9). Deadline (Jan 11).
  • Maine
    Maine
    Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

     - Caucuses (February 1 through February 3). Deadline (None - Day of Election though check the rules regarding this caucus).
  • Maryland
    Maryland
    Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

     - Closed Primary (Feb 12). Deadline (21 Days - Jan 22).
  • Massachusetts
    Massachusetts
    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

     - Semi-Closed Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (1 Day - Jan 16).
  • Michigan
    Michigan
    Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

     - Open Primary (Jan 15). Deadline (30 Days - Jan 6).
  • Minnesota
    Minnesota
    Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

     - Open Caucuses (Feb 5 *). Deadline (20 Days - Jan 16).
  • Mississippi
    Mississippi
    Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

     - Open Primary (Mar 11). Deadline (30 Days - Feb 10).
  • Missouri
    Missouri
    Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

     - Open Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (4th Wednesday Prior - Jan 9).
  • Montana
    Montana
    Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

     - Open Primary (Jun 3). Deadline (30 Days - May 4).
  • Nebraska
    Nebraska
    Nebraska is a state on the Great Plains of the Midwestern United States. The state's capital is Lincoln and its largest city is Omaha, on the Missouri River....

     - Primary (May 13 *). Deadline (Second Friday before an election, May 2).
  • Nevada
    Nevada
    Nevada is a state in the western, mountain west, and southwestern regions of the United States. With an area of and a population of about 2.7 million, it is the 7th-largest and 35th-most populous state. Over two-thirds of Nevada's people live in the Las Vegas metropolitan area, which contains its...

     - Caucuses (Jan 19). Deadline (30 Days - Dec 20, 2007).
  • New Hampshire
    New Hampshire
    New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

     - Semi-Open Primary
    New Hampshire primary
    The New Hampshire primary is the first in a series of nationwide political party primary elections held in the United States every four years , as part of the process of choosing the Democratic and Republican nominees for the presidential elections to be held the subsequent November.Although only a...

     (Jan 8). Deadline (10 Days - Dec 28, 2007).
  • New Jersey
    New Jersey
    New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

     - Primary (Feb 5). Deadline for new registrations (21 Days - Jan 15, 2008). Deadline for party switch (50 days - Dec 17, 2007). Unaffiliated voters can declare on the day of primary.
  • New Mexico
    New Mexico
    New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

     - Republican Primary (Jun 3). Deadline (28 Days - May 6) Democrat closed caucus Feb 5, 2008 (deadline January 4).
  • New York
    New York
    New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

     - Closed Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (25 Days - Jan 11).
  • North Carolina
    North Carolina
    North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

     - Semi-Open Primary (May 6 *). Deadline (30 Days - Apr 6). Early voting starts April 17
  • North Dakota
    North Dakota
    North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

     - Open Caucuses (Feb 5). Deadline (No registration. Must have residency for 30 days - Jan 6).
  • Ohio
    Ohio
    Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

     - Semi-Open Primary (Mar 4). Deadline (30 Days - Feb 3).
  • Oklahoma
    Oklahoma
    Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

     - Closed Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (24 Days - Jan 12).
  • Oregon
    Oregon
    Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

     - Closed Primary (May 20). Deadline (21 Days - Apr 29).
  • Pennsylvania
    Pennsylvania
    The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

     - Closed Primary (Apr 22). Deadline (30 Days - Mar 23).
  • Rhode Island
    Rhode Island
    The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

     - Primary (Mar 4). Deadline (30 Days - Feb 3).
  • South Carolina
    South Carolina
    South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

     - Open
    South Carolina primary
    The South Carolina presidential primary has become one of several key early state nominating contests in the process of choosing nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties for the following election for President of the United States....

     Primary (Jan 19 for Republicans, Jan 26 for Democrats). Deadline (30 days - Dec 20, 2007 for Republicans and Dec 25, 2007 for Democrats).
  • South Dakota
    South Dakota
    South Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux American Indian tribes. Once a part of Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889. The state has an area of and an estimated population of just over...

     - Closed Primary (Jun 3). Deadline (15 Days - May 19).
  • Tennessee
    Tennessee
    Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

     - Open Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (30 Days - Jan 6).
  • Texas
    Texas
    Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

     - Semi-Open Primary (Mar 4) & Closed Caucus (begins Mar 4, schedule based on party rules). Voting in primary is prerequisite for caucusing at precinct convention, which convenes after primary polls close. Deadline (Feb 4, 2008).
  • Utah
    Utah
    Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

     - Closed Primary (Feb 5). Deadline (30 Days - Jan 6).
  • Vermont
    Vermont
    Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

     - Open Primary (Mar 4). Deadline (Feb 27, 2008).
  • Virginia
    Virginia
    The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

     - Open Primary (Feb 12). Deadline (29 Days - Jan 14).
  • Washington - Open Caucus (Feb 9) & Primary (Feb 19). This is a two step process. Deadline (30 Days via mail or online, 15 Days in Person Friday, Jan 25).
  • West Virginia
    West Virginia
    West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

     -Closed Primary (18 Delegates at the State Convention on Feb 5 (ask the state party for details), 12 Delegates for the May 13 Primary).
    • Deadline (21 days to register or change your party to Republican - Apr 22 for the Primary).
  • Wisconsin
    Wisconsin
    Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

     - Open Primary (Feb 19). Deadline (The day before or the day of at your polling precinct).
  • Wyoming
    Wyoming
    Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

     - Caucus (Mar 8).


* - Note that these Primaries / Caucuses may be changed to a date earlier than stated.

Primary classifications


While it is clear that the Closed/Semi-Closed/Semi-Open/Open classification commonly used by scholars studying primary systems does not fully explain the highly nuanced differences seen from state to state, they are still very useful and have real-world implications for the electorate, election officials, and the candidates themselves.

As far as the electorate is concerned, the extent of participation allowed to weak partisans and independents depends almost solely on which of the aforementioned categories best describes their state's primary system. Clearly, open and semi-open systems favor this type of voter, since they can choose which primary they vote in on a yearly basis under these models. In closed primary systems, true independents are, for all practical purposes, shut out of the process.

This classification further affects the relationship between primary elections and election commissioners and officials. The more open the system, the greater the chance of raiding, or voters voting in the other party's primary in hopes of getting a weaker opponent chosen to run against a strong candidate in the general election. Raiding has proven stressful to the relationships between political parties, who feel cheated by the system, and election officials, who try to make the system run as smoothly as possible.

Perhaps the most dramatic effect this classification system has on the primary process is its influence on the candidates themselves. Whether a system is open or closed dictates the way candidates run their campaigns. In a closed system, from the time a candidate qualifies to the day of the primary, he must cater to strong partisans, who tend to lean to the extreme ends of the ideological spectrum. In the general election, on the other hand, the candidate must move more towards the center in hopes of capturing a plurality.

Daniel Hannan
Daniel Hannan
Daniel John Hannan is a British journalist, author and politician who is currently a Member of the European Parliament, representing South East England for the Conservative Party and the European Conservatives and Reformists political group...

, a British politician and Member of the European Parliament, opines "Open primaries are the best idea in contemporary politics. They shift power from party hierarchs to voters, from Whips to backbenchers and from ministers to Parliament. They serve to make legislatures more diverse and legislators more independent."

Mytimetovote.com contains voting information by State including seats repartition, Poll location, Voting registration and more.

Primaries in Europe


In Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, primaries are not organised by the public administration but by parties themselves. Legislation is mostly silent on primaries. The main reason to this is that the voting method used to form governments, be it proportional representation
Proportional representation
Proportional representation is a concept in voting systems used to elect an assembly or council. PR means that the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received. For example, under a PR voting system if 30% of voters support a particular...

 or two-round system
Two-round system
The two-round system is a voting system used to elect a single winner where the voter casts a single vote for their chosen candidate...

s, lessens the need for an open primary. Party fragmentation reduces wasted vote
Wasted vote
In the study of electoral systems, a wasted vote may be defined in two different ways:# Any vote which is not for an elected candidate.# Any vote which does not help to elect a candidate....

s and does not hamper the chances to win, like in single-winner elections. Coalitions can be formed before (Sweden) or afterwards (Netherlands
Dutch general election, 2010
The 2010 Dutch general election was held on Wednesday, 9 June 2010. After the fall of the cabinet Balkenende IV on 20 February, Queen Beatrix accepted the resignation of the Labour Party ministers on 23 February...

).

Governments are not involved in the process, however, parties may need their cooperation, notably in the case of an open primary, e.g. to obtain the electoral roll, or to cover the territory with a sufficient number of polling stations.

Whereas closed primaries are rather common within many European countries, few political parties in Europe already opted for open primaries.
Parties generally organise primaries to nominate the party leader (leadership election
Leadership election
Leadership election can refer to any of the contests to take the leadership of a political party, notably:*Canada**Bloc Québécois***Bloc Québécois leadership elections**Parti Québécois***Parti Québécois leadership election, 1985...

). The underlying reason for that is that most European countries are parliamentary democracies. National governments are derived from the majority in the Parliament, which means that the head of the government is generally the leader of the winning party. France is one exception to this rule.

Unlike at Member State level, primaries are completely unknown at the level of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

. So far, European political parties, which are federations of national political parties and are mainly based in Brussels, never consult individual party members (let alone voters) while designating their top candidates; however, some European parties are considering to change that for the next European elections in 2014.

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
Socialist Party (France)
The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

 is about to organise the first open primary in France in October 2011.

Italy


In Italy, the first open primaries took place on the 16th October 2005. It led to the designation of Romano Prodi as leader of the great Olive Tree coalition, which gathered several center and left-wing parties, for the legislative elections of the 9th and 10th April 2006
Italian general election, 2006
In the Italian general election, 2006 for the renewal of the two Chambers of the Parliament of Italy held on April 9 and April 10, 2006 the incumbent prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the center-right House of Freedoms, was narrowly defeated by Romano Prodi, leader of the center-left The...

. Romano Prodi won the election, but his small advance in the Senate (two seats) helped the Upper house pass a vote of no-confidence two years later.

France


In France, parties are frequently created, akin to the Fifth Republic
French Fifth Republic
The Fifth Republic is the fifth and current republican constitution of France, introduced on 4 October 1958. The Fifth Republic emerged from the collapse of the French Fourth Republic, replacing the prior parliamentary government with a semi-presidential system...

's nonpartisan ideal (a President beyond partisanship). This long prevented the making of primaries, but it has grown in popularity on the left-wing as a tool to overcome divisions.

In presidential races, parties are usually the tool of their leader. None of the six Presidents elected through direct election faced an internal election. The first round of voting is used instead as an open primary, sometimes to the dismay of a whole camp
French presidential election, 2002
The 2002 French presidential election consisted of a first round election on 21 April 2002, and a runoff election between the top two candidates on 5 May 2002. This presidential contest attracted a greater than usual amount of international attention because of Le Pen's unexpected appearance in...

.
  • In 2007, Sarkozy, President of the UMP
    Union for a Popular Movement
    The Union for a Popular Movement is a centre-right political party in France, and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the country along with the center-left Socialist Party...

    , organized an approval "primary" without any opponent. He won by 98% and made his candidacy speech thereafter.
  • On the left however, the Socialist Party, which helped Mitterrand gain the Presidency for 14 years, has been plagued by internal divisions since the latter departed from politics. Rather than forming a new party, which is the habit on the right-wing, the party started to elect its running mate internally.
    • A first try in 1995
      French presidential election, 1995
      Presidential elections took place in France on 23 April and 7 May 1995, to elect the fifth president of the Fifth Republic.The incumbent Socialist president, François Mitterrand, did not stand for a third term. He was 78, had cancer, and his party had lost the previous legislative election in a...

      : Lionel Jospin
      Lionel Jospin
      Lionel Jospin is a French politician, who served as Prime Minister of France from 1997 to 2002.Jospin was the Socialist Party candidate for President of France in the elections of 1995 and 2002. He was narrowly defeated in the final runoff election by Jacques Chirac in 1995...

       won the nomination three months before the election. He lost in the run-off to Chirac. Later in 2002, although the candidacy of then-PM Jospin was undisputed, each of the 5 left-wing parties of the government he led sent a candidate. . . paving the way for a loss of all five.
    • The idea made progress coming near the 2007 race, once the referendum on a European constitution was over. The latter showed strong ideological divisions within the left-wing spectrum, and the Socialist party itself. This prevented the possibility of a primary spanning the whole left-wing, that would give its support to a presidential candidate, similar to the Italian example.
    • Given that no majority supported either a leader or a split, a closed primary
      French Socialist Party presidential primary, 2006
      The 2006 Socialist party presidential primary was the selection process by which members of the Socialist Party of France chose their candidate for the 2007 French presidential election....

       was organized, which Ségolène Royal
      Ségolène Royal
      Marie-Ségolène Royal , known as Ségolène Royal, is a French politician. She is the president of the Poitou-Charentes Regional Council, a former member of the National Assembly, a former government minister, and a prominent member of the French Socialist Party...

       won. She qualified to the national run-off that she lost to Sarkozy. She had previously convinced the party to launch a massive registration campaign, enabling membership for only 20 euros.
    • A first open primary will take place in late 2011
      French Socialist Party presidential primary, 2011
      The 2011 French Socialist Party presidential primary was the first open primary of the French Socialist Party and Radical Party of the Left for selecting their candidate for the 2012 presidential election. The filing deadline for primary nomination papers was fixed at 13 July 2011 and six...

       to pick up the Socialist party
      Socialist Party (France)
      The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

       and the Radical Party of the Left nominee for the 2012 presidential election
      French presidential election, 2012
      The 2012 French presidential election is the next presidential election, to be held on 22 April and 6 May 2012, the latter being used for a run-off if necessary...

      . Inspired by the 2008 U.S. primaries
      Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
      The 2008 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election...

      , it is seen as a way to reinvigorate the party. It was also criticized for going against the nature of the regime. It shall be noted that the open primary is not state-organized. The party will take charge of all the elecotral procedures, planning to set up 10,000 voting polls. Those on the electoral rolls, party members of Socialist party
      Socialist Party (France)
      The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

       and the Radical Party of the Left, and members of the parties' youth organisation (MJS
      Young Socialist Movement
      The Movement of the Young Socialists or simply Jeunes Socialistes is the youth organisation of the French social-democratic Socialist Party....

       and JRG
      Young Radicals of the Left
      The Young Radicals of the Left , are the youth organisation of the french social-liberal Radical Party of the Left...

      ) , including minors of 15 to 18 years old, will be entitled to vote in exchange of a euro to cover the costs.
  • Other parties organize membership primaries to choose their nominee, such as Europe Ecologie - Les Verts (EE-LV)
    The Greens (France)
    The Greens were a Green political party to the centre-left of the political spectrum in France. They had officially been in existence since 1984, but their spiritual roots could be traced as far back as René Dumont’s candidacy for the presidency in 1974...

     (2006, 2011), and the Front National (FN) in 2011.
  • At the local level, primaries are extremely rare: In order to tame potential feud in his party, and prepare the ground for a long campaign, Sarkozy pushed for a closed primary in 2006 to designate the UMP candidate for the 2008 election of the Mayor of Paris. Françoise de Panafieu
    Françoise de Panafieu
    Françoise de Panafieu is a French politician, member of the Union for a Popular Movement party and mayor of the XVIIe arrondissement of Paris. She was a member of the French Cabinet as tourism minister in 1995 and she has been an MP for Paris since 2002...

     was elected in a four-way race. However, she did not clinch the mayorship two years later.

Socialist parties


In autumn 2010, here was how the twenty-nine socialist, social-democratic, and labour
Labour movement
The term labour movement or labor movement is a broad term for the development of a collective organization of working people, to campaign in their own interest for better treatment from their employers and governments, in particular through the implementation of specific laws governing labour...

 parties member of the Party of European Socialists
Party of European Socialists
The Party of European Socialists is a European political party led by Sergei Stanishev, former Prime Minister of Bulgaria. The PES comprises social-democratic national-level political parties primarily from Member state of the European Union, as well as other nations of the European continent. The...

 (PES) had designated their party leader:
  • Only two parties organised an open primary: Greece (ΠΑΣΟΚ
    Panhellenic Socialist Movement
    The Panhellenic Socialist Movement , known mostly by its acronym PASOK , is one of the two major political parties in Greece. Founded on 3 September 1974 by Andreas Papandreou, in 1981 PASOK became Greece's first social democratic party to win a majority in parliament.The party is a socialist party...

    ), Italy (PD
    Democratic Party (Italy)
    The Democratic Party is a social-democratic political party in Italy, that is the second-largest in the country. The party is led by Pier Luigi Bersani, who was elected in the 2009 leadership election....

    )
  • Closed primary happened in nine parties: Belgium (sp.a, PS), Cyprus (ΕΔΕΚ
    Movement for Social Democracy
    The Movement for Social Democracy EDEK is a Social Democratic party in Cyprus. It was originally founded by Dr Vasos Lyssaridis in 1969 as the United Democratic Union of Centre, EDEK and it was socialist party. It has gradually evolved into a social-democratic political party...

    ), Denmark (SD
    Social Democrats (Denmark)
    The Social Democrats , is a Danish political party committed to the political ideology of social democracy. It is the major coalition partner in Denmark's government since the 2011 parliamentary election, and party leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt is the current Prime Minister of Denmark...

    ), France (PS
    Socialist Party (France)
    The Socialist Party is a social-democratic political party in France and the largest party of the French centre-left. It is one of the two major contemporary political parties in France, along with the center-right Union for a Popular Movement...

    ), Ireland (LP
    Labour Party (Ireland)
    The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in the Republic of Ireland. The Labour Party was founded in 1912 in Clonmel, County Tipperary, by James Connolly, James Larkin and William X. O'Brien as the political wing of the Irish Trade Union Congress. Unlike the other main Irish...

    ), Netherlands (PvdA
    Labour Party (Netherlands)
    The Labour Party , is a social-democratic political party in the Netherlands. Since the 2003 Dutch General Election, the PvdA has been the second largest political party in the Netherlands. The PvdA was a coalition member in the fourth Balkenende cabinet following 22 February 2007...

    ), Portugal (PS
    Socialist Party (Portugal)
    The Socialist Party , abbreviated to PS, is a social-democratic political party in Portugal. It was founded on 19 April 1973 in the German city of Bad Münstereifel, by militants from Portuguese Socialist Action ....

    ), United-Kingdom (Labour
    Labour Party (UK)
    The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

    )
    The case of UK's Labour party leadership election
    Labour Party (UK) leadership election, 2010
    The 2010 Labour Party leadership election was triggered by a general election which resulted in a hung parliament. On 10 May, Gordon Brown resigned as Leader of the Labour Party. The following day, he stepped down as Prime Minister....

     is specific, as three electoral colleges, each accounting for one third of the votes, participate in this primary election: Labourite members of Parliament and of the European Parliament, party members, members of affiliated organisations.
  • The designation of the party leader was made by the party's congress in the eighteen remaining parties: Austria (SPÖ
    Social Democratic Party of Austria
    The Social Democratic Party of Austria is one of the oldest political parties in Austria. The SPÖ is one of the two major parties in Austria, and has ties to trade unions and the Austrian Chamber of Labour. The SPÖ is among the few mainstream European social-democratic parties that have preserved...

    ), Bulgaria (БСП
    Bulgarian Socialist Party
    The Bulgarian Socialist Party is social-democratic political party in Bulgaria and successor to the Bulgarian Communist Party. The BSP is a member of the Party of European Socialists and Socialist International, and is currently led by Sergei Stanishev....

    ), Czech Republic (ČSSD
    Czech Social Democratic Party
    The Czech Social Democratic Party is a social-democratic political party in the Czech Republic.-History:The Social Democratic Czechoslavonic party in Austria was founded on 7 April 1878 in Austria-Hungary representing the Kingdom of Bohemia in the Austrian parliament...

    ), Estonia (SDE
    Social Democratic Party (Estonia)
    The Social Democratic Party is a social-democratic party in Estonia, led by Sven Mikser. It has been a member of the Party of European Socialists since 16 May 2003 and a member of the Socialist International since November 1990....

    ), Finland (SDP
    Social Democratic Party of Finland
    The Social Democratic Party of Finland is one of the three major political parties in Finland, along with the Centre Party and the National Coalition Party. Jutta Urpilainen is the current SDP leader. The party has been in the Finnish government cabinet for long periods and has set many...

    ), Germany (SPD
    Social Democratic Party of Germany
    The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

    ), Hungary (MSZP
    Hungarian Socialist Party
    The Hungarian Socialist Party describes itself as a social democratic party in Hungary. It is the partial successor of the communist Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party , which ruled Hungary between 1956 and 1989. The decision to declare the party a successor of the MSZMP was controversial, and...

    ), Latvia (LSDSP
    Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party
    The Latvian Social Democratic Workers' Party is a centre-left, social democratic party in Latvia. It has a long history but is not represented in the current parliament of Latvia.-History:...

    ), Lithuania (SDPL
    Social Democratic Party of Lithuania
    The Social Democratic Party of Lithuania is a centre-left and social democratic political party in Lithuania. It is the oldest party in Lithuania, founded in 1896. The party's president since 2009 is Algirdas Butkevičius. The party led a minority government in the unicameral Seimas, Lithuania's...

    ), Luxembourg (LSAP
    Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party
    The Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party , abbreviated to LSAP or POSL, is a social democratic political party in Luxembourg.The LSAP is the second-largest party in the Chamber of Deputies, having won 13 of 60 seats at the 2009 election, and has one seat in the European Parliament...

    ), Malta (LP), Poland (SLD
    Democratic Left Alliance
    Democratic Left Alliance is a social-democratic political party in Poland. Formed in 1991 as a coalition of centre-left parties, it was formally established as a single party on 15 April 1999. It is currently the third largest opposition party in Poland....

    , UP
    Labour Union (Poland)
    The Labour Union is a social-democratic political party in Poland. It is a member of the Party of European Socialists and Socialist International....

    ), Rumania (PSD
    Social Democratic Party (Romania)
    The Social Democratic Party is the major social-democratic political party in Romania. It was formed in 1992, after the post-communist National Salvation Front broke apart. It adopted its present name after a merger with a minor social-democratic party in 2001. Since its formation, it has always...

    ), Slovakia (SMER-SD), Slovenia (SD
    Social Democrats (Slovenia)
    The Social Democrats is a centre-left political party in Slovenia, currently led by Borut Pahor. From 1993 until 2005, the party was known as the United List of Social Democrats .-Origins:...

    ), Spain (PSOE
    Spanish Socialist Workers' Party
    The Spanish Socialist Workers' Party is a social-democratic political party in Spain. Its political position is Centre-left. The PSOE is the former ruling party of Spain, until beaten in the elections of November 2011 and the second oldest, exceeded only by the Partido Carlista, founded in...

    ), Sweden (SAP
    Swedish Social Democratic Party
    The Swedish Social Democratic Workers' Party, , contesting elections as 'the Workers' Party – the Social Democrats' , or sometimes referred to just as 'the Social Democrats' and most commonly as Sossarna ; is the oldest and largest political party in Sweden. The party was founded in 1889...

    ), United-Kingdom / Northern Ireland (SDLP
    Social Democratic and Labour Party
    The Social Democratic and Labour Party is a social-democratic, Irish nationalist political party in Northern Ireland. Its basic party platform advocates Irish reunification, and the further devolution of powers while Northern Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom...

    )

European Union


With a view to the European elections, many European political parties consider organising a presidential primary.
Indeed, the Lisbon treaty, which entered into force in December 2009, lays down that the outcome of elections to the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 must be taken into account in selecting the President of the Commission; the Commission is in some respects the executive branch of the EU and so its president can be regarded as the EU prime minister. Parties are therefore encouraged to designate their candidates for Commission president ahead of the next election in 2014, in order to allow voters to vote with a full knowledge of the facts. Many movements are now asking for primaries to designate these candidates.
  • Already in April 2004, a former British conservative
    Conservative Party (UK)
    The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

     MEP
    Member of the European Parliament
    A Member of the European Parliament is a person who has been elected to the European Parliament. The name of MEPs differ in different languages, with terms such as europarliamentarian or eurodeputy being common in Romance language-speaking areas.When the European Parliament was first established,...

    , Tom Spencer
    Tom Spencer (politician)
    Thomas Newnham Bayley Spencer is a British Conservative politician and former Member of the European Parliament.Spencer was educated at Pangbourne Nautical College and the University of Southampton. He served as Conservative MEP for Derbyshire from 1979–1984, Conservative MEP for Surrey West from...

    , advocated for American-style primaries in the European People's Party
    European People's Party
    The European People's Party is a pro-European centre-right European political party. The EPP was founded in 1976 by Christian democratic parties, but later it increased its membership to include conservative parties and parties of other centre-right perspectives.The EPP is the most influential of...

    : "A series of primary elections would be held at two-week intervals in February and March 2009. The primaries would start in the five smallest countries and continue every two weeks until the big five voted in late March. To avoid swamping by the parties from the big countries, one could divide the number of votes cast for each candidate in each country by that country's voting weight in the Council of Ministers. Candidates for the post of president would have to declare by 1 January 2009."

  • Following the defeat of the Party of European Socialists
    Party of European Socialists
    The Party of European Socialists is a European political party led by Sergei Stanishev, former Prime Minister of Bulgaria. The PES comprises social-democratic national-level political parties primarily from Member state of the European Union, as well as other nations of the European continent. The...

     during the European elections of June 2009
    European Parliament election, 2009
    Elections to the European Parliament were held in the 27 member states of the European Union between 4 and 7 June 2009. A total of 736 Members of the European Parliament were elected to represent some 500 million Europeans, making these the biggest trans-national elections in history...

    , the PES Congress that took place in Prague in December 2009 made the decision that PES would designate its own candidate before the 2014 European elections. A Campaign for a PES primary was then launched by PES supporters in June 2010, and it managed to cinvince the PES Council meeting in Warsaw in December 2010 to set up Working Group "Candidate 2014" in charge of proposing a procedure and timetable for a "democratic" and "transparent" designation process "bringing on board all our parties and all levels within the parties".


The European think-tank Notre Europe
Notre Europe
Notre Europe is an independent think tank based in Paris. Founded in 1996 by Jacques Delors, it aims to "think a united Europe."-Research:Notre Europe's research is focused around four axes:...

 also evokes the idea that European political parties should designate their candidate for Vice-president / High representative of the Union for foreigh affairs
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy is the main co-ordinator and representative of the Common Foreign and Security Policy within the European Union...

. This would lead European parties to have "presidential tickets" on the American model.

Finally, the European Parliament envisaged to introduce a requirement for internal democracy in the regulation on the statute of European political parties. European parties would therefore have to involve individual members in the major decisions such as designating the presidential candidate.

Primaries worldwide

  • United States presidential primary
    United States presidential primary
    The series of presidential primary elections and caucuses is one of the first steps in the process of electing the President of the United States of America. The primary elections are run by state and local governments, while caucuses are private events run by the political parties...

    .
    • Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
      Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
      The 2008 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election...

      .
    • Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
      Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
      The 2008 Republican presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Republican Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election...

      .
  • Primary elections in Italy
    Primary elections in Italy
    The mechanism of primary elections was used for the first time in Italy by Lega Nord in 1995, but was scarcely used until before the 2005 regional elections, for which the centre-left The Union coalition delegated its potential electors to select candidates for office as President of the Regions of...

    .
  • Chile
    Chile
    Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

    .
  • Uruguay
    Uruguay
    Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

    , since 1999.
  • United New Democratic Party (South Korea
    South Korea
    The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

    , 2007).
  • Armenia
    Armenia
    Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

    . In an innovation on 2007 November 24 and 25, one political party conducted a non-binding Armenia-wide primary election. The party, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation
    Armenian Revolutionary Federation
    The Armenian Revolutionary Federation is an Armenian political party founded in Tiflis in 1890 by Christapor Mikaelian, Stepan Zorian, and Simon Zavarian...

    , invited the public to vote to advise the party which of two candidates they should formally nominate for President of Armenia in the subsequent official election. What characterized it as a primary instead of a standard opinion poll was that the public knew of the primary in advance, all eligible voters were invited, and the voting was by secret ballot. "Some 68,183 people . . . voted in make-shift tents and mobile ballot boxes . . ."
  • United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    . On August 4, 2009, Dr Sarah Wollaston
    Sarah Wollaston
    Dr Sarah Wollaston is a British general practitioner and politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Totnes for the Conservative party since 2010...

     was chosen by Open Primary
    Open primary
    An open primary is a primary election that does not require voters to be affiliated with a political party in order to vote for partisan candidates. In a traditional open primary, voters may select one party's ballot and vote for that party's nomination. As in a closed primary, the highest voted...

     as the Conservative Party
    Conservative Party (UK)
    The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

     candidate for Totnes
    Totnes (UK Parliament constituency)
    Totnes is a county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament , using the first-past-the-post voting system....

    , for the 2010 general election, the first time such a mechanism has been used to pick a prospective candidate for an election in the UK. This was after the current incumbent Anthony Steen
    Anthony Steen
    Anthony David Steen is a British Conservative Party politician who was a Member of Parliament from 1974 to 2010, and the chairman of the Human Trafficking Foundation. Having represented Totnes in Devon since 1997, he was previously MP for South Hams from 1983, and had also been the MP for...

     decided to step down in the wake of the MPs expenses scandal
    United Kingdom Parliamentary expenses scandal
    The United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal was a major political scandal triggered by the leak and subsequent publication by the Telegraph Group in 2009 of expense claims made by members of the United Kingdom Parliament over several years...

    . The Conservatives have plans to roll this out further and there are hopes other parties may nominate future candidates in this way.
  • Colombia
    Colombia
    Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

     In 2006, the Liberal Party
    Colombian Liberal Party
    The Colombian Liberal Party is a center-left party in Colombia that adheres to social democracy and social liberalism.The Party was founded in 1848 and, together with the Colombian Conservative Party, subsequently became one of the two main political forces in the country for over a century.After...

     and the socialist Democratic Pole
    Alternative Democratic Pole
    The Alternative Democratic Pole is a political alliance in Colombia, formed by the Independent Democratic Pole and the Democratic Alternative in December 2005...

     hold primary elections, electing Horacio Serpa
    Horacio Serpa
    Horacio Serpa Uribe is a Colombian politician and lawyer. Horacio Serpa has run as the Colombian Liberal Party candidate for President of Colombia on three occasions; in 1998, 2002, and 2006...

     as liberal candidate and Carlos Gaviria as candidate of the Democratic Pole. For 2010 presidential electiones, four parties held primary elections: The Liberal Party
    Colombian Liberal Party
    The Colombian Liberal Party is a center-left party in Colombia that adheres to social democracy and social liberalism.The Party was founded in 1848 and, together with the Colombian Conservative Party, subsequently became one of the two main political forces in the country for over a century.After...

     elected former minister Rafael Pardo as candidate, the Democratic Pole
    Alternative Democratic Pole
    The Alternative Democratic Pole is a political alliance in Colombia, formed by the Independent Democratic Pole and the Democratic Alternative in December 2005...

     elected senator Gustavo Petro
    Gustavo Petro
    Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego is a Colombian politician of the Political Independent movement Progresistas . As a young man he fought with the 19th of April Movement, which later evolved into the Alianza Democrática M-19. He then became active in newly-established Alianza Democrática M-19...

    , the Conservative Party
    Colombian Conservative Party
    The Colombian Conservative Party , is a conservative political party in Colombia. The party was unofficially founded by a group of Revolutionary Commoners during the Revolutionary War for Independence from the Spanish Monarchy and later formally established during the Greater Colombia...

     chose ambassador Noemi Sanin
    Noemí Sanín
    Marta Noemí del Espíritu Santo Sanín Posada is a Colombian lawyer and politician, twice Ambassador of Colombia to the United Kingdom, as well as Ambassador to Spain and Venezuela...

     and the Green Party chose former mayor of Bogota Antanas Mockus
    Antanas Mockus
    Aurelijus Rutenis Antanas Mockus Šivickas is a Colombian mathematician, philosopher, and politician.The son of Lithuanian immigrants, he left his post as the president of the National University of Colombia in Bogotá in 1993, and later that year ran a successful campaign for mayor...

    .
  • Republic of China
    Republic of China
    The Republic of China , commonly known as Taiwan , is a unitary sovereign state located in East Asia. Originally based in mainland China, the Republic of China currently governs the island of Taiwan , which forms over 99% of its current territory, as well as Penghu, Kinmen, Matsu and other minor...

     (Taiwan): The Democratic Progressive Party
    Democratic Progressive Party
    The Democratic Progressive Party is a political party in Taiwan, and the dominant party in the Pan-Green Coalition. Founded in 1986, DPP is the first meaningful opposition party in Taiwan. It has traditionally been associated with strong advocacy of human rights and a distinct Taiwanese identity,...

     selects all its candidates via opinion polls. The candidate with the highest poll rating will be nominated. The KMT selects candidates using a combination of opinion polls (worth 70%) and primary elections (worth 30%).

See also

  • Sore-loser law
    Sore-loser law
    In United States politics, a sore-loser law is a law which states that the loser in a primary election can't then run as an independent in the general election. These laws do not apply to presidential candidates...

    , which states that the loser in a primary election cannot thereafter run as an independent in the general election


People
  • Thomas W. Williams (Los Angeles)
    Thomas W. Williams (Los Angeles)
    Thomas W. Williams was a former coal miner, school principal and church minister who was a member of the Los Angeles, California, City Council between 1929 and 1931...

    , opposed the direct primary, 1915