If you want to shape politics, there are few ways to be more impactful than voting in a primary election.
Nationwide, primaries only see an average of 20% turnout. Instead of delving into why people don’t vote in the primaries, let’s talk about why people SHOULD vote in the primaries:
✦ With fewer people voting, every vote carries more weight.
✦ Primaries separates the stronger candidates from weaker ones.
✦ Primaries can feature ballot measures that need to be voted on.
✦ Primary voters are, generally speaking, older and whiter. They aren’t terribly representative of the full voting population. More people voting in the primaries means that a one segment of citizens isn’t calling all the shots.
✦ Primary voters are also more partisan than general election voters, which is how fringe candidates end up in the general. More primary voters can mitigate this.
✦ Voter turnout at primaries help determine where campaigns and parties will put more (or less) effort towards the general election. More people voting often means more attention and resources.
✦ Even if your favorite candidate loses the primary, if s/he gets a good percentage of the votes, there is a good chance the winning candidate will adopt some of their platform to appeal to the broader group of voters.
✦ Every time you vote, it becomes more of a habit.
✦ Vote in the primary because it is one part of being in a participatory democracy. It’s your right. Use it.
Now that you’re fired up to vote in your next primary election, make sure you get that date on your calendar.
For bonus points, share the date and a reminder to vote on social media so your friends and family in the state are aware, too!
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You made some good points here. I’d also add that in places that are heavily partisan (example: Republican Idaho, most city council seats in New York City), the primary pretty much determines who wins it all.
That’s true in many places, yes.
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