2018 PRIMARY VOTING FOR OUT-OF-STATE STUDENTS
As discussed in our main Primary guides, primaries allow voters to pick candidates for the November general election. This is your chance to determine who you and others will ultimately get to vote for. Continue reading below or download a PDF of the full Primary Voting for Out-of-State Students resource here.
Who you can vote for in different types of primaries
Eligibility requirements for voting in a primary vary from state to state, and depend on the type of primary being held. Primary rules differ from general election rules, because you not only have to be registered and supply any required ID. You also may also have to register with a particular party to vote for your preferred candidate. If you register to vote in a state that’s different from where you’re going to school, you can find key information below, but we also recommend that you check for possible eligibility variations at your state election website or Vote411.org (which also provides stands for many of the candidates). If you want email or text reminders, you can get them from TurboVote and Rock the Vote, along with registration documents or online registration.
Here are the types of primaries:
- Closed: Voter must be a registered party member. This does not commit you to vote for any particular party in November.
- Semi-closed or Open to Unaffiliated Voters (OUV): Unaffiliated voters can participate in any party primary they choose, but voters registered with one party cannot vote in another party primary. Some states require unaffiliated voters to declare a party affiliation at the polls to vote in that party’s primary.
- Open: Voters can choose privately (in the voting booth) which party’s ballot they complete. This decision does not register the voter with that party.
- Semi-open: Voters can cross party lines in their ballot selection but must publicly declare their ballot choice before going into the booth. This avoids avoid having their ballot selection regarded as a form of registration for that party. Some states allow voters to publicly change their party affiliation for the purpose of voting in the primary election.
- Top-Two: A small number of states use a common ballot that lists candidates from all parties. The top two nominees, regardless of party affiliation, move on to the general election.
Primary election schedule and types of primaries – all states
Primaries are held in different states from March through September. The table below provides primary election types and dates plus registration deadlines for all states. We’ve given a range of dates if they have different deadlines for different registration methods (in-person, mail, online). Additional registration details can be found at your state election site, Vote411.org or the U.S. Vote Foundation. Absentee ballot information can be found at the same links.
|State||Primary Type||Registration Deadline||Primary Date|
|Alabama||Closed||May 21||June 5|
|Alaska||Semi-closed||July 22||August 21|
|Arizona||Open||July 30||August 28|
|Arkansas||Semi-open||April 23||May 22|
|California||Semi-closed||May 21||June 5|
|Colorado||Closed||June 18 or election day||June 26|
|Connecticut||Closed||August 9||August 14|
|Delaware||OUV||August 11||September 6|
|District of Columbia||May 28 – June 19||June 19|
|Florida||Closed||July 30||August 28|
|Georgia||Semi-open||April 23 – 24||May 22|
|Hawaii||Semi-closed||July 12||August 11|
|Idaho||Open||April 20 or election day||May 15|
|Illinois||Semi-closed||February 20 – March 20||March 20|
|Indiana||Open||April 9||May 8|
|Iowa||Open||May 25 or election day||June 5|
|Kansas||Top Two||July 17||August 7|
|Kentucky||OUV||April 23||May 22|
|Louisiana||Open||October 9 or October 16||November 6|
|Maine||Semi-open||May 22 or election day||June 12|
|Maryland||Closed||June 5||June 26|
|Massachusetts||OUV||August 15||September 4|
|Michigan||Open||July 9||August 7|
|Minnesota||Open||July 24 or election day||August 14|
|Mississippi||Open||May 7||June 5|
|Missouri||Open||July 11||August 7|
|Montana||Open||May 7 or election day||June 5|
|Nebraska||Top Two||April 30 or May 4||May 15|
|Nevada||Closed||May 15 or May 22||June 12|
|New Hampshire||OUV||Deadlines vary by locality.||September 11|
|New Jersey||OUV||May 15||June 5|
|New Mexico||Closed||May 8||June 5|
|New York||Closed||March 30 or April 14||April 24|
|North Carolina||Semi-closed||April 13||March 8|
|North Dakota||Open||Not required||June 12|
|Ohio||Semi-open||April 9||May 8|
|Oklahoma||Semi-closed||June 8||June 26|
|Oregon||Closed||April 24||May 15|
|Pennsylvania||Closed||April 16||May 15|
|Rhode Island||OUV||August 12||September 12|
|South Carolina||Open||May 11 – May 14||June 5|
|South Dakota||Semi-closed||May 21||June 5|
|Tennessee||Semi-open||July 3||August 2|
|Texas||Open||February 5||March 6|
|Utah||Semi-closed||May 28 or June 19||June 26|
|Vermont||Open||Election day||August 14|
|Virginia||Open||May 21||June 12|
|Washington||Top Two||July 9 or July 30||August 7|
|West Virginia||OUV||April 17||May 8|
|Wisconsin||Open||July 25 or August 10||August 14|
|Wyoming||Semi-open||August 6 or election day||August 21|