Primaries are Important
Why is it important to vote in the presidential primary or caucus?
Primaries and caucuses are how we choose who runs for president. The person who earns the most votes and support from all the primaries and caucuses goes on to become the party’s nominee in the general election. This is why it is so important to vote in them, especially if you are in a state that with an early primary, like Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, California, or Texas. Primaries and caucuses are a great opportunity to get to know the candidates and take part in the process of choosing your own leaders — you won’t get a chance to vote for your favorite candidate in the general if they don’t win the primary! And, because a lot of people skip primary voting, your vote counts even more than it would in a general election.
How do I vote in a primary or caucus?
Lookup and register to vote by the deadline (some states let you register day of, others require you to register in advance). Some states will require you to register for the party whose primary or caucus you want to vote in (see below). Voting in a primary looks a lot like voting in a general election – you can vote in person on election day, in person early, or absentee by mail. For a caucus, usually voters must be physically present and stand with people supporting the candidate of their choice.
Do I need to register with a party affiliation?
In order to participate in your primary or caucus election you may need to be registered with a party. You should check your state or party rules to see if you will be eligible to participate in your primary or caucus if you are not registered with a party, or if you must register with a party before election day. Even if you identify as an independent, you might want to register with the party that most closely aligns with your views so that you can vote in the primary or caucus and help choose the candidate that goes on to the general election.
Are primaries only for presidential voting?
No! Local, state, and Congressional candidates are also chosen through primaries. Depending on the election, you may be able to vote for your party’s nominee for school board, state legislature, governor, member of Congress, etc. All of these positions affect your daily life, so it is important to vote all down the ballot for primaries!