State-By-State

Primary Elections State-by-State

Map Key

Jungle Primary
Top-two Primary
Open (Partisan) Primary
Semi-open Primary
Semi-closed Primary
Closed Primary
Click a state for more information.

There are numerous variations of primary election rules which govern voter access. Because there are no unified standards, election law experts themselves often use conflicting terminology to describe the nature of certain primary elections. Below, we have listed the general categories of primaries with short descriptions of the labels we have selected to describe each system as they relate to a voter’s right to participate.

Partisan Primaries

Partisan Primaries serve the private purpose of selecting a nominee to represent a political party on the general election ballot. In a partisan primary, voters and candidates participate using different ballots for each party, subject to the access requirements generalized below.

Closed primary

A voter cannot participate in the nomination of party candidates unless they are registered members of that party.

Semi-closed primary

A partisan primary system in which a political party has the option, but not obligation, to allow or disallow unaffiliated voters to participate.

Semi-open primary

A partisan primary system in which a political party must allow unaffiliated voters to participate.

Open (partisan) primary

A partisan primary system in which a voter, regardless of his or her party affiliation, can choose to participate in the party primary of their choice.

Nonpartisan Primaries

Primaries that serve the public purpose of narrowing the candidate field for the general election ballot. In a nonpartisan primary, all voters and candidates participate on the same ballot regardless of party affiliation. All nonpartisan primaries are “open” because no voter is excluded on the basis of their party affiliation.

Top-Two primary

In a top-two primary, all candidates and voters participate on the same ballot and the top-two vote getters, regardless of party affiliation, advance to the general election.

Jungle Primary

Often confused with a “top-two” primary, a jungle primary is not actually a primary election. In fact, a jungle “primary” occurs on the same day as the general election, and if a candidate receives 50%+1 or more of the vote, the election is over and that candidate is elected. Only if no candidate gets more than 50%+1 of the vote do the top-two candidates then participate in a head-to-head runoff election.

State-by-State Voter Statistics

Alabama

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Alaska

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Semi-closed Primary
Presidential:
Semi-closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 541,821
Democrats: 74,865 (13.82%)
Republicans: 139,615 (25.77%)
Unaffiliated: 299,365 (55.25%)
Third Party/Other: 27,976 (5.16%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Independence, Libertarian, Republican


Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None Found.

Arizona

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Semi-open Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 3,610,377
Democrats: 1,090,310 (30.20%)
Republicans: 1,258,994 (34.87%)
Unaffiliated: 1,223,219 (33.88%)
Third Party/Other: 37,854 (1.05%

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Arkansas

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Registering with a party is optional.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

California

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Top-two Primary
Presidential:
Semi-closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 19,023,417
Democrats: 8,438,268 (44.36%)
Republicans: 4,769,299 (25.07%)
Unaffiliated: 4,852,817 (25.51%)
Third Party/Other: 963,033 (5.06%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Green, Independent, Libertarian, Peace & Freedom, Republican

Colorado

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 3,860,816
Democrats: 1,167,982 (30.25%)
Republicans: 1,138,807 (29.49%)
Unaffiliated: 1,480,959 (38.36%)
Third Party/Other: 73,068 (1.89%)

Election Litigation

Baca & Nemanich v Williams – Electoral College members file voter intimidation lawsuit against Colorado Secretary of State claiming they were coerced into voting for Hillary Clinton.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Connecticut

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 2,318,251
Democrats: 848,493 (36.60%)
Republicans: 481,336 (20.76%)
Unaffiliated: 956,463 (41.26%)
Third Party/Other: 31,959 (1.38%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Delaware

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 692,381
Democrats: 326,875 (47.21%)
Republicans: 192,914 (27.86%)
Unaffiliated: 159,790 (23.08%)
Third Party/Other: 12,802 (1.85%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

District of Colombia

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Semi-closed Primary
Presidential:
Semi-closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 481,043
Democrats: 365,719 (76.03%)
Republicans: 29,587 (6.15%)
Unaffiliated: 79,310 (16.49%)
Third Party/Other: 6,427 (1.34%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Green, Democratic, Libertarian, Republican


Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

Florida

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 12,875,998
Democrats: 4,776,092 (37.09%)
Republicans: 4,547,635 (35.32%)
Unaffiliated: 3,472,684 (26.97%)
Third Party/Other: 79,587 (0.61%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Georgia

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.


Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Hawaii

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Semi-closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

The Supreme Court rejected an attempt by the Democratic party to close their currently open primaries.

Major Parties

None found.

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

Idaho

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Semi-closed Primary
Presidential:
Semi-closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 815,486
Democrats: 93,710 (11.49%)
Republicans: 420,456 (51.56%)
Unaffiliated: 291,677 (35.77%)
Third Party/Other: 9,644 (1.18%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

Illinois

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.


Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Indiana

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register by political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

Iowa

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 2,134,734
Democrats: 668,805 (31.33%)
Republicans: 681,012 (31.90%)
Unaffiliated: 769,597 (36.05%)
Third Party/Other: 15,320 (0.72%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Libertarian, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

Kansas

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 426,619
Democrats: 95,788 (22.45%)
Republicans: 186,850 (43.80%)
Unaffiliated: 140,376 (32.90%)
Third Party/Other: 3,605 (0.85%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Libertarian, Republican

Kentucky

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 3,377,260
Democrats: 1,684,005 (49.86%)
Republicans: 1,402,897 (41.54%)
Unaffiliated: 185,735 (5.49%)
Third Party/Other: 104,621 (3.10%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Independent, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Louisiana

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Jungle Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 2,957,075
Democrats: 1,286,357 (43.50%)
Republicans: 896,319 (30.31%)
Unaffiliated: info not available
Third Party/Other: 774,399 (26.19%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

Maine

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 1,033,986
Democrats: 340,912 (32.97%)
Republicans: 282,952 (27.37%)
Unaffiliated: 361,377 (34.95%)
Third Party/Other: 48,745 (4.71%)

Major Parties

Democratic, Green, Republican


Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Maryland

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Semi-closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 3,931,730
Democrats: 2,149,873 (54.68%)
Republicans: 1,009,765 (25.68%)
Unaffiliated: 709,411 (18.04%)
Third Party/Other: 62,681 (1.59%)

Election Litigation

Benisek v Lamone - Challenging the congressional redistricting plan enacted by the Maryland General Assembly following the 2010 Census.

Major Parties

Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Massachusetts

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Semi-closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 4,486,849
Democrats: 1,526,870 (34.03%)
Republicans: 479,237 (10.68%)
Unaffiliated: 2,424,979 (54.05%)
Third Party/Other: 55,763 (1.24%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Libertarian, Republican


Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

Michigan

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

Litigation pending. The ACLU filed a challenge on Nov. 2 to Massachusetts’s law that requires voters to register 20 days before an election.

Major Parties

Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Natural Law, Republican, U.S. Taxpayer’s

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Minnesota

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Democratic Farmer-Labor Party, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Mississippi

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

Missouri

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Montana

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Constitution, Libertarian, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Nebraska

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Semi-closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 1,199,474
Democrats: 355,691 (29.65%)
Republicans: 577,390 (48.14%)
Unaffiliated: 252,898 (21.08%)
Third Party/Other: 12,495 (1.04%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Constitution, Libertarian, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Nevada

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 1,695,450
Democrats: 655,016 (38.63%)
Republicans: 556,612 (32.83%)
Unaffiliated: 371,824 (21.93%)
Third Party/Other: 111,998 (6.61%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

New Hampshire

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 960,935
Democrats: 267,241 (27.81%)
Republicans: 294,240 (30.62%)
Unaffiliated: 399,245 (41.55%)
Third Party/Other: 209 (0.02%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

New Jersey

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 5,827,847
Democrats: 2,148,541 (36.87%)
Republicans: 1,251,177 (21.47%)
Unaffiliated: 2,388,515 (40.99%)
Third Party/Other: 39,614 (0.68%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Conservative, Constitution, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Natural Law, Reform Party, Republican, Socialist

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

New Mexico

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 1,217,638
Democrats: 559,874 (46%)
Republicans: 372,281 (31%)
Unaffiliated: 265,355 (22%)
Third Party/Other: 20,128 (2%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

New York

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 12,396,403
Democrats: 6,201,033 (50.02%)
Republicans: 2,823,758 (22.78%)
Unaffiliated: 2,644,155 (21.33%)
Third Party/Other: 727,457 (5.87%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

North Carolina

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Semi-closed Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 6,965,135
Democrats: 2,659,970 (38.19%)
Republicans: 2,086,604 (29.96%)
Unaffiliated: 2,182,365 (31.33%)
Third Party/Other: 36,196 (0.52%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Libertarian, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

North Dakota

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican, Libertarian

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

Ohio

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Oklahoma

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Semi-closed Primary
Presidential:
Semi-closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 2,016,157
Democrats: 769,772 (38.18%)
Republicans: 942,621 (46.75%)
Unaffiliated: 298,867 (14.82%)
Third Party/Other: 4,897 (.24%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Libertarian, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Oregon

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 2,681,654
Democrats: 956,149 (35.67%)
Republicans: 700,110 (26.11%)
Unaffiliated: 841,801 (31.39%)
Third Party/Other: 183,594 (6.85%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Libertarian, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Pennsylvania

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 8,469,661
Democrats: 4,042,531 (47.73%)
Republicans: 3,229,638 (38.13%)
Unaffiliated: 752,973 (8.89%)
Third Party/Other: 444,519 (5.25%)

Election Litigation

League of Women Voters Pennsylvania et al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - Lawsuit claiming Pennsylvania's districts as drawn violate the constitution’s prohibition of partisan gerrymandering

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Rhode Island

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Semi-closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 777,421
Democrats: 306,058 (39.4%)
Republicans: 91,585 (11.8%)
Unaffiliated: 376,525 (48.4%)
Third Party/Other: 3,253 (0.4%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

South Carolina

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not affiliate with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

American, Constitution, Democratic, Green, Independence, Labor, Libertarian, Republican, United Citizens, Working Families

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

South Dakota

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Closed Primary
Presidential:
Closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 532,618
Democrats: 156,316 (29.35%)
Republicans: 251,468 (47.21%)
Unaffiliated: 121,844 (22.88%)
Third Party/Other: 2,990 (0.56%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Constitution, Democratic, Libertarian, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Tennesse

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Texas

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Utah

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Semi-closed Primary
Presidential:
Semi-closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 1,573,564
Democrats: 189,060 (12.01%)
Republicans: 744,243 (47.30%)
Unaffiliated: 588,733 (37.41%)
Third Party/Other: 51,528 (3.27%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Constitution, Democratic, Independent American, Libertarian, and Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

Vermont

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Progressive, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.

Virginia

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Washington

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Top-two Primary
Presidential:
Semi-closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Washington does not have major party status.

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

West Virginia

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Semi-closed Primary
Presidential:
Semi-closed Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 1,231,798
Democrats: 523,734 (42.52%)
Republicans: 395,093 (32.07%)
Unaffiliated: 270,226 (21.94%)
Third Party/Other: 42,745 (3.47%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Wisconsin

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Voters do not register with a political party.

Election Litigation

Gill v. Whitford - Partisan gerrymandering case awaiting oral argument before SCOTUS

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

Wyoming

Primary Type
Congressional/State:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Presidential:
Open (Partisan) Primary
Party Registration Statistics

Total Registered Voters: 263,337
Democrats: 46,979 (17.84%)
Republicans: 176,307 (66.95%)
Unaffiliated: 36,688 (13.93%)
Third Party/Other: 942 (.36%)

Election Litigation

None currently underway.

Major Parties

Democratic, Republican

Independent & Electoral Reform Organizations

None found.