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Open Primary

An “open primary” is an election that allows voters to select candidates on one party’s ballot without declaring their own party affiliation.

Open primaries are often contrasted with closed primaries, in which only registered members of a particular political party are allowed to participate in the primary election. In a closed primary, only registered members of the party holding the primary can vote to select the party’s candidate for the general election.

It’s not to be confused with a blanket primary or jungle primary, in which all candidates appear on the same ballot and the two highest voted candidates proceed to the runoff, regardless of party affiliation.

Open primaries are intended to encourage more participation in the primary election process and to give voters more choice in selecting the candidates who will appear on the general election ballot.

open primary

They are also seen as a way to reduce the influence of party leaders and insiders in the primary election process, and to give a greater voice to independent and unaffiliated voters.

While open primaries are often seen as a way to increase voter turnout and broaden the base of support for candidates, they can also create challenges for political parties. In an open primary, a candidate from one party may be able to win the support of voters from other parties, potentially weakening the party’s nominee in the general election.

Use of “Open Primary” in a sentence

  • The state will hold an open primary, allowing any voter to participate in the selection of the party’s nominee for the general election.
  • The political party is considering switching to an open primary system to increase voter participation in the primary election.
  • Critics of open primaries argue that they can give an advantage to candidates who are able to win the support of voters from other parties.