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Presidential primary


In 2016 legislation was passed establishing a presidential nomination primary. Common questions about the presidential primary are answered below.

When will the presidential nomination primary take place?
It will take place on the first Tuesday in March of a presidential election year, unless the major party chairs agree on a different date by March 1 of the previous year.

Will all parties participate in the presidential nomination primary?
No, only major parties will participate.

Will all parties be on the same ballot?
No, each major party will have a separate ballot.

Who decides which candidates will appear on a party’s ballot?
The chair of each party will submit a list of candidates for the party’s ballot no later than 63 days before the date of the presidential primary.

What if a candidate drops out before the primary?
Once a party’s list is submitted, changes will not be made to candidates that will appear on the ballot.

Will there be a place to write in a choice or vote for “uncommitted”?
Only if it is requested by the party chair. Party chairs will need to submit names of write-in candidates to be counted seven days before the primary.

Will any other offices be on the ballot?
No, only presidential candidates from a major party will appear on the presidential primary ballot. Other offices with a primary will be on the primary ballot in August.

How will I be able to vote in the presidential nomination primary?
Registered voters will be able to vote at their polling place on presidential primary day or by absentee up to 46 days before presidential primary day. A voter must state which party's ballot they want and will be given a ballot containing only that party's candidates. If you refuse to select a party, you will not be able to vote in the presidential nomination primary.

Will other people know which party’s ballot I request?
Yes, a voter’s choice of party ballot will be recorded and will be public information. How a voter voted on the ballot will be secret.

Will parties have to abide by the primary results?
The presidential primary results must bind the election of delegates in each party.

Who will pay for the presidential nomination primary?
County and municipalities will be reimbursed by the state for the primary costs.

Will there still be precinct caucuses?
Yes, precinct caucuses and local and state nominating conventions will still take place to conduct other party business.

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