Open vs Closed Primary
Primaries are just a few months away in the USA, and it makes sense to know the difference between open and closed primaries. However, before moving ahead, it is better letting the first time voters know what a primary election is. We know that elections in the country are between the Republicans and the democrats all over the country, but there are internal elections in both parties to decide the candidates to fight in the general elections. The elections to decide the winner between inner party candidates are termed as primaries. Open and closed primaries are two different types of primary elections, and this article attempts to differentiate between these two different types of primaries.
What is Open Primary?
Open primary is a ballot open to people with all affiliations. Thus, whether you are a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, or even a communist, you have the right to vote in the primary election of any party you desire. This means that if it is the Republican party that is deciding upon its candidate, to fight in the next general elections for a particular position or seat, you can indicate your preference no matter whether you are a registered Republican or not. However, parties can ask you to show your support for the policies of the party and may even ask you to pay small donation for paying towards the cost of the primary election. However, when a primary is meant to narrow down the choices of candidates for a particular party, this strategy may sometime work against the party as a Democrat may prefer to vote for a republican who he thinks has a poor chance of winning in general elections. Out of 50 states, there are close to 20 states that hold open primaries.
What is Closed Primary?
There are many states where closed primaries are held. These are elections within the party to narrow down the choice of candidates for the general elections where the winning party candidate fights against the nominee of the other party. The distinguishing feature of a closed primary is that only those who are registered members of a party are allowed to take part in these elections. A voter has to state his preference for the party before he is asked to vote in the primary. You are denied permission to vote in the closed primary of a party if you are not a member of that party.
What is the difference between Open and Closed Primary?
• While both open and closed primaries are designed to narrow down the choice of candidates of a party, to stand in the next general elections against the nominee of the other party, anyone can take part in an open primary irrespective of his party affiliations.
• On the other hand, only registered members of a political party can take part in a closed primary.
• There are states with open primaries while there are many states where only closed primaries are held.