Open and closed primary
Terms in this set (9)
Selecting Party canidates
In the United States, citizens can run for almost any public office in the land. Yet when it comes time to elect a candidate to office, voters often have a choice between just two candidates, one from each major party.
Voters choose candidates to represent a party in a general election.
How are candidates chosen to run in an election?
One of the major jobs of political parties is to nominate, or choose, candidates for office. To do so, parties typically use the direct primary.
Types of Direct Primary Elections:
Closed and Open primaries
They differ in terms of which voters can take part.
In this case, only party members can vote. For example, only Republicans can vote in the Republican Party's primary. Some people favor the closed primary. They say that it prevents members of one party from crossing over into the other party's primary to vote for weak candidates. These weak candidates would then be easy to defeat in the general election.
Others oppose the closed primary. They say that it prevents independent voters from taking part in primaries. In most states, voters who do not belong to a party cannot vote in either major party's primary. For this reason, some states have an open primary. In these elections, any registered voter can vote in a primary.
The candidate who wins the primary is typically the one who gets a plurality, or the most votes. A candidate with a plurality wins even if his or her share is less than 50 percent of all the votes cast.
In a few states, the winner must have a majority. This means the winning candidate must get more than 50 percent of the total votes.
Sometimes, no candidate receives a majority in the primary. When this happens, the party holds a second primary called a runoff. The two candidates with the most votes take part in this primary. The winner of the runoff becomes the party's candidate in the general election.
Most offices have only one officeholder: one mayor, one representative for a district. Sometimes, though, more than one type of position is vacant in the same election.
A city might have several city council members, for instance. In these cases, a party can nominate more than one candidate. It will choose the top vote-getters in the primary.
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