TYPES OF ELECTIONS
A Primary Election is apreliminary Election between two or more individuals in one political party. The candidate with the highest number of votes is chosen to run in the General Election as his or her party’s nominee. The offices that may require a Primary Election are President, Governor, State Cabinet Members, Federal and State Legislators, and County Officers and Commissioners.
North Carolina is a Closed Primary State, which means if you are registered as a Democrat, you vote in the Democratic primary, not the Republican primary. No crossover voting is allowed.
A General Election is a national, state, or county election held between or among the candidates who won their party primaries. National Election Day is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
Partisan v. Nonpartisan Elections
A Nonpartisan Election is held the same day as the General Election. The candidates do not run as representatives of any political party. A partisan election means that candidates are affiliated with a political party. In Nonpartisan Elections, all voters regardless of political party affiliation are able to vote in these elections. Nonpartisan offices in North Carolina include School Board, Judicial Candidates, and Municipal Offices.
Presidential Preference Primary
Democrats and Republicans are able to vote to express their preference for their political party’s presidential candidate. Each state sets the date for their Presidential Preference Primary (and the few states having a caucus – an informal, nonbinding vote – rather than a Primary do the same). The reason for the Presidential Preference Primary is because the United States does not have a direct election for President. Instead, the President is picked by the Electoral College, and states have Presidential Preference Primaries (and caucuses) to express how their electors should vote in the Electoral College.
Citizens and citizen groups often attempt to get an issue on a ballot, thus allowing voters the opportunity to vote directly on the passage of the item, rather than the usual means of having elected officials vote on the issue. All registered voters are able to vote for any referenda questions or issues on the ballot regardless of political party affiliation.