• Primary Election
    • Tuesday, Aug 2nd
  • Polls Open
    • 7:00 am -8:00 pm
    • In-person voting
  • General Election
    • Tuesday, Nov. 8th
  • Polls Open
    • 7:00 am -8:00 pm
    • In-person voting

 

The Importance of the Primary

The Primary Election

‘A primary is the method political parties use in the U.S. to nominate candidates for elected office. The winners of the primaries in the two-party system become the party nominees, and they face each other in the election, which is held in November in even-numbered years.’ -Thoughtco.com

History and Purpose

The primary election in the United States was crafted to give more power to the voter. The primary election allows the voter to have more influence over the election, while reducing the power of party bosses and organizations. Today, the primary remains a powerful force for voters to voice their opinions and utilize their power.
Despite the importance of the primary election, only a small percentage of voters participate. According to the Michigan Secretary of State, about 2 million voters participated in the 2018 Michigan gubernatorial primary out of around 7 million registered voters. This is only about 28% of voters.

The primary election carries heavy importance, however over the years voters consistently chose not to participate perhaps due to an overall feeling that primary elections carry less importance than the general election. Despite this impression, primary elections are exceedingly influential on the results of the general election, and it should be stressed to voters that their participation in the primary does in fact hold great influence.

Types of Primaries

There are three types of primary elections across the nation- open, closed, and semi-closed. An open primary allows for voters to vote in any party’s primary election, regardless of party affiliation. In open primaries, voters do not need to indicate their party affiliation when voting. This can be advantageous, as voters can cross party lines to vote for a candidate of an opposing party. For instance, if an area consistently elects a candidate of one party, then voters in the opposite party can vote for a candidate in their primary who most closely aligns with their views. The disadvantage of open primaries is the ability of opposing party members to elect a candidate that their own party would have the best chance of defeating.

Closed primaries are the opposite; in a closed primary voters must be registered with the parties affiliation to be able to vote in the primary. Closed primaries allow for the party to preserve their affiliation, as no outside influences can change their election results. However, closed primaries are thought to further the divide between political parties, as they fuel political radicalization, as candidates try to appeal to party members, rather than a political center.

The third type of primary elections are semi-closed. Semi-closed primaries require voters who affiliate with a party to vote only for that party, whereas unaffiliated or independent voters are able to vote in any party’s primary.

 

Michigan Primary

Michigan’s 2022 gubernatorial primary will take place August 2nd. The state of Michigan has open primaries, so any registered voter will be able to vote in any political party’s primary.

According to Ballotpedia:
Michigan state law stipulates that any voter may participate in a party’s primary election, regardless of that voter’s partisan affiliation.

In Michigan, the winner of a primary election is the candidate who receives the greatest number of votes cast for that office, even if he or she does not win an outright majority of all votes cast

 

To learn more about the candidates and ballot issues, visit the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness page on voter education here https://tinyurl.com/MCAH-voter-info

To register to vote in Michigan, visit your local clerks office before 8 PM on election day, or register online with the Michigan Voter Registration System on the Secretary of State website https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us/.

 

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