The Importance of Primary Elections

By Debbie Wuthnow

4 Reasons to Vote in Your Upcoming Primary Election


When I say the words “Election Day,” does the November General Election immediately come to mind?

If you’re like most voters, that term evokes visions of a Tuesday in November which finally concludes a months-long battle between the lesser of two evils. Your chosen candidate may not be an angel, but at least he’s better than “the other guy"!

What if there was another Election Day? What if there was an opportunity to not just vote against a bad candidate, but vote for a good one? There is such an Election Day, but it’s often overlooked by a majority of voters. It’s the primary election.

Primary vs. General Elections

In broad terms, the General Election is like the Super Bowl—the showdown between the final two football teams. In the General Election, the final two candidates (or more, in the case of third-party or independent candidates) in each race will “face off” to determine who will take office.

Before the Super Bowl, however, there must be playoff games to decide who can advance. The primary election is a bit like the playoffs—but with a lot more at stake. It narrows the field of candidates for each elected office before the General Election. Unfortunately, unlike in the Super Bowl, the best candidates aren’t necessarily the ones who advance to the General Election. The quality of candidates who make it onto the ballot in November will be determined by voters in the primary.

Unique Opportunities for You as a Voter

  1. Often, the winning candidate in November is actually determined back in the primary. Districts are drawn in such a way that over 80 percent of them strongly favor one party over the other (commonly referred to as gerrymandering). In those districts, whoever wins the dominant party’s primary will also likely win in the General Election against the other party’s candidate.
  2. The primary election is often your only chance to replace incumbents who may not be standing as strongly as you would like on the issues that matter most to YOU.
  3. Because turnout in the primaries is less than the general, your one vote carries greater weight. Fewer votes are needed to put a candidate over the top. 
  4. As mentioned above, the primary election affords a greater chance of finding a candidate who truly aligns with your values, not merely a candidate who is less bad than another. Your vote can be tailored to a candidate who thinks more like you do.

Our Impact in the Primary Election

Because differences between candidates aren’t as readily apparent in the primary as in the General Election, iVoterGuide’s research and ratings can be extremely valuable in helping voters determine the distinctions between candidates who all run under the same party banner.

For example, in one primary election, eighteen candidates running for one position were affiliated with the same party. However, after our research and evaluations, the political ideology ratings we assigned to the candidates ranged from Verified Conservative to Liberal. Informed voters can make the difference in sending a true conservative to the General Election.

Voting in the primary is imperative; being an informed voter is essential. In this year’s *Republican primaries, iVoterGuide is providing information for contested federal races in all 50 states. In 31 of those states, we also provide information for statewide and state legislative races. In addition to local school districts in several states, we’ll have covered over 12,000 candidates by the end of the year!

To find out when Election Day will take place for your upcoming primary, go to our homepage and select your state. Make note of when your voter guide will be released. Polling locations can be found at the website of your local county elections division. If you are voting absentee, be sure to allow extra time for any delays in postal service.

Please share this email and encourage your friends and family to vote in your primary! If you are weary of settling in the General Election for candidates who won’t fight for your values, it’s time to take advantage of this other Election Day.

 

*Due to the vast number of primary candidates nationwide and limited resources, we currently only cover the Republican primary election for races that are partisan. Be assured that candidates in both parties will be researched and evaluated in the General Election.

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