If you want to shape politics, there are few ways to be more impactful than voting in a primary election.
And with Virginia and New Jersey looking at statewide primaries tomorrow, I thought it was a good time to repost this article.
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.
If you’re a voter in Virginia or New Jersey, be sure to vote tomorrow!! And if you’re not in one of these states, commit to becoming a primary voter forevermore.