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Brief: Closed vs Opened Primaries- Arizona & Florida

posted Sep 7, 2018, 8:07 AM by Rahni Jere Sumler
Brief from Sara Rosier reposted from Ballotpedia's Ballot Bulletin 

Not all primaries are created equal. As we get closer to the end of primary season, let’s explore the different types of primaries. 
An open primary is any primary election in which a voter either does not have to formally affiliate with a political party in order to vote in its primary or can declare his or her affiliation with a party at the polls on the day of the primary even if the voter was previously affiliated with a different party. In 22 states, at least one party conducts open primaries. 

Ballotpedia Primary Map Snapshot

Screenshot of Ballotpedia's primary map. Map includes all of the United States including Alaska and Hawaii with a color chart dictating the type of primary in that state. Go the link ( for a complete table of primaries.

A primary election is an election used either to narrow the field of candidates for a given elective office or to determine the nominees for political parties in advance of a general election.Pictured above is a snapshot of Ballotpedia's interactive primary state map. At the site, hovering over each state gives details about the primaries for the major, Republican and Democratic, parties. This information determines how party members vote in the primaries. 
A closed primary is a type of primary election in which a voter must affiliate formally with a political party in advance of the election date in order to participate in that party's primary. In 14 states, at least one political party conducts closed primaries.
Florida, one of today’s primary states, uses closed primaries.

A semi-closed primary, also known as a hybrid primary, is a type of primary election in which previously unaffiliated voters may participate in the partisan primary of their choice. Voters who are already affiliated with a political party can vote only in that party's primary. In 15 states, at least one political party conducts semi-closed primaries.
Arizona, one of today’s primary states, uses semi-closed primaries.

How does your State Conduct Primaries?

Check out the work at Ballotpedia, where staff compiled information on primary election types by state and on election policies. These policies are sorted into categories with links to each state. 
Find your state's: 
  • Voting policy
  • Electoral systems policy 
  • Primary elections policy
  • Restricting policy
  • Ballot access for political candidates
  • Ballot Access of Political Parties