Voting in the 2012 primary elections

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2012 Elections
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Information about Voting
Election DatesEarly votingAbsentee voting
Voting in 2012 PrimariesVoting on November 6, 2012
Poll Opening and Closing Times

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Open Primary • Closed Primary • Blanket Primary
This page contains voter registration information pertaining to the 2012 state primary elections.

The dates focus primarily on primary dates for non-presidential elections. Specifically, the primary dates below refer to when candidates are on the ballot for Congressional, State Executive, State Legislative and other down-ballot issues.

The table below contains the following information:

  • Primary date
  • Type of primary
  • Deadline for voters to register to vote
  • Other notes

State-by-state breakdown

All 50 states were broken into three different groups by type of primary:

  • 20 states use a strictly closed primary system, including Florida, South Dakota and Pennsylvania.
  • 19 state have an open primary system, including Alabama, Georgia, and Wisconsin
  • 11 states have a mixed system, including:
    • Illinois: The primary is closed, but voters can change parties each year. Voters may change party affiliation at polls or caucus.
    • Iowa: The caucuses are closed, but voters may change registration at polls.
    • Kansas:In the Democratic caucus, Independent voters can register as Democrats on caucus day. For Republicans it is a closed caucus.
    • Massachusetts: Registered Democrats and Republicans can only vote for their own party in the primary but Independent voters may decide which party they would like to vote for.
    • Montana: Republicans have a closed caucus, while Democrats have an open primary.
    • New Hampshire: Registered Democrats and Republicans can only vote for their own party in the primary but Independent voters may decide which party they would like to vote for. Unregistered voters can register on election day.
    • New Jersey: Registered Democrats and Republicans can only vote for their own party in the primary. Any New Jersey voter who has never on a previous occasion voted in a New Jersey primary election may declare a party affiliation at the poll. Independents may also decide which party to vote for.
    • Ohio: Must vote in the primary of same party as the voter participated in last primary election. Loosely enforced. However, if a voter wishes to vote in another party's primary, he or she must register with that party in order to vote.
    • Rhode Island: If you are registered as "unaffiliated" you may vote in the primary of any party you choose. Once you vote in a primary, however, you are considered a member of that party until and unless you "disaffiliate."
    • Utah: Currently, only Republicans close their primary. Democrats and Independents can vote in the Democratic primary. Conventions are held by the political parties prior to the primary.
    • West Virginia: Uniaffiliated voters and members of minor parties may vote in the Democratic or Republican primaries. The Mountain party typically holds a convention to choose a candidate.


Voting in Primary Elections 2012 Information
State Primary Date Type of Primary Registration Date Notes
Alabama 6/5/2012 Open Voter Registration closes 10 days prior to the election.[1]
Alaska 8/28/2012 Closed 7/29/2012[2] Closed caususes for both parties, but voters may change party affiliation at polls or caucus.
Arizona 8/28/2012 Closed 7/30/2012[3]
Arkansas 5/22/2012 Open 4/23/2012[4] Open, but when runoff elections are used, voters must vote in same party's runoff election as they voted for in the first round election.
California 6/5/2012 Open The deadline for voters to register is 15 days prior to election day.[5] Open "Top 2 Primary Election"; the top two candidates move to the General Election.
Colorado 6/26/2012 Closed[6] 5/29/2012[7]
Connecticut 8/14/2012 Closed 8/13/2012[8] 3 month waiting period if switching parties
Delaware 9/11/2012 Closed 8/18/2012[9]
Florida 8/14/2012 Closed 7/16/2012[10]
Georgia 7/31/2012 Open 7/2/2012[11] When runoff elections are used, voters must vote in same party's runoff election as they voted for in the first round election.
Hawaii 8/11/2012 Closed 7/12/2012[12]
Idaho 5/15/2012 Closed 4/20/2012[13] Closed primary system. However, Idaho law allows the political parties the option of opening their primary to "unaffiliated" voters. In 2012, the Democratic Party opened its primary to unaffiliated voters while the GOP kept its primary closed. Decisions to do so must be made at least 6 months prior to the election.
Illinois 3/20/2012 Closed/Mixed 2/21/2012[14] Voters can change parties each year. Closed primary. Voters may change party affiliation at polls or caucus.
Indiana 5/8/2012 Open 4/9/2012[15] Voters must declare political affiliation before they vote. However, primary ballot is dependent on previous affiliation history.
Iowa 6/5/2012 Closed/Mixed Can Register the day of the election.[16] Deadline if planning to register before election: 5/26/2012[17] Closed caucuses, but voters may change registration at polls.
Kansas 8/7/2012 Closed/Mixed 7/17/2012[18] In the Democratic caucus, independent voters can register as Democrats on caucus day. For republicans it is a closed caucus.
Kentucky 5/22/2012 Closed 4/23/2012[19] You may change your political party registration at any time on or before December 31st to remain eligible to vote in the following political party primary election.
Louisiana 11/6/2012 Open Voters must register 30 days prior to the election in order to vote.[20]
Maine 6/12/2012 Closed Can register the day of the election[21] Closed caucuses. Can register the day of the election.
Maryland 4/3/2012 Closed 3/13/2012[22] Parties can choose to open primaries but both Democrats and Republicans chose not to. If a voter does not choose a party, he or she will be recorded as "unaffiliated" and is only permitted to vote in the primary election if a party chooses to open its primary.
Massachusetts 9/6/2012 Closed/Mixed 8/17/2012[23] Registered Democrats and Republicans can only vote for their own party in the primary but independent voters may decide which party they would like to vote for.
Michigan 8/7/2012 Open 4/9/2012[24] Voters must register at least 30 days before the election.
Minnesota 8/14/2012 Open Voters who wish to register in advance must pre-register at least 21 days before Election Day. However, voters may also register on Election Day at their polling place.[25] Open caucuses. Voters who wish to register in advance must pre-register at least 21 days before Election Day. However, voters may also register on Election Day at their polling place.
Mississippi 3/13/2012 Open 2/12/2012[26]
Missouri 8/7/2012 Open 7/11/2012[27]
Montana 6/5/2012 Mixed 5/6/2012[28] Republicans have a closed caucus, while Democrats have an open primary.
Nebraska 5/15/2012 Closed 4/27/2012 (by mail) or 5/4/2012 (in person)[29]
Nevada 6/12/2012 Closed 5/22/2012 (in person) or 5/12/2012 (by mail)[30] Closed caucuses.
New Hampshire 9/11/2012 Mixed 9/4/2012, or on election day[31] Registered Democrats and Republicans can only vote for their own party in the primary but independent voters may decide which party they would like to vote for. Unregistered voters can register on election day.
New Jersey 6/5/2012 Mixed 5/15/2012[32] Registered Democrats and Republicans can only vote for their own party in the primary. Any NJ voter who has never on a previous occasion voted in a NJ primary election may declare a party affiliation at the poll. Independents may also decide which party to vote for.
New Mexico 6/5/2012 Closed 5/8/2012[33]
New York 6/26/2012 Closed 6/1/2012[34]
North Carolina 5/8/2012 Closed 4/13/2012[35] If registered with a party, you must vote in that party's primary. If unaffiliated, you may choose a party on the day of the primary election
North Dakota 6/12/2012 Open North Dakota has no voter registration -- in order to vote, voters must simply prove that they have resided in the state for 30 days.[36] North Dakota has no voter registration -- in order to vote, voters must simply prove that they have resided in the state for 30 days.
Ohio 3/6/2012 Mixed Voter registration closes 30 days prior to an election.[37] Must vote in the primary of same party as the voter participated in last primary election. Loosely enforced. However, if a voter wishes to vote in another party's primary, he or she must register with that party in order to vote.
Oklahoma 6/26/2012 Closed 6/1/2012[38]
Oregon 5/15/2012 Closed 4/24/2012[39]
Pennsylvania 4/24/2012 Closed 3/25/2012[40]
Rhode Island 9/11/2012 Closed/Mixed 8/11/2012[41] If you are registered as "unaffiliated" you may vote in the primary of any party you choose. Once you vote in a primary, however, you are considered a member of that party until and unless you "disaffiliate".
South Carolina 6/12/2012 Open 5/12/2012[42] Open, but when runoff elections are used, voters must vote in same party's runoff election as they voted for in the first round election.
South Dakota 6/5/2012 Closed 5/21/2012[43] In the Democratic Primary, Independents are allowed to vote.
Tennessee 8/2/2012 Open 7/3/2012[44]
Texas 5/29/2012 Open 4/30/2012[45] Open, but when runoff elections are used, voters must vote in the same party's runoff election as they voted for in the first round election.
Utah 6/26/2012 Mixed 6/11/2012 or 5/29/2012 (by mail)[46] Currently only Republicans close their primary. Democrats and independents can vote in the Democratic primary. Conventions are held by the political parties prior to the primary.
Vermont 8/28/2012 Open 8/22/2012[47]
Virginia 6/12/2012 Open 5/21/2012[48][49] Parties may choose to nominate by convention rather than by primary election.
Washington 8/7/2012 Open 7/9/2012 or 7/30/2012 (first time voters)[50]
West Virginia 5/8/2012 Closed/Mixed 4/17/2012[51] Uniaffiliated voters and members of minor parties may vote in the Democratic or Republican primaries. The Mountain party typically holds a convention where they choose a candidate.
Wisconsin 8/14/2012 Open 7/25/2012 (mail) or 8/10/2012 (in person)[52] Voters may register at the polls if they bring valid proof of residence.
Wyoming 8/21/2012 Closed 8/6/2012[53] Voters may register at the polls if they provide valid ID.


Issues

2012

Department of Justice sues Georgia over voting deadlines

On June 29, 2012, the Department of Justice filed a suit in federal court against the state of Georgia, alleging that service members, their family members and overseas civilian voters won’t have time to vote by absentee ballot in runoff elections, if they are required.[54] According to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), states must transmit all validly requested ballots to UOCAVA voters at least 45 days before an election, unless a hardship exemption is obtained, for which Georgia failed to file.[54] However, this conflicts with the timeline for runoff elections, in which the primary runoff, by law, must be held 21 days after the regular or special primary election, and if a runoff is required after the Nov. 6 general election, it will be held 28 days later, on Dec. 4, which also wouldn’t provide the required 45 days.[54]

As part of the lawsuit, the Department of Justice is asking Georgia to "extend the ballot receipt deadline to Aug. 31 for these voters, to send ballots by express delivery as soon as possible before the Aug. 21 runoff election, and inform UOCAVA voters no later than July 7 of their right to request a state write-in absentee ballot or their official absentee ballot for any runoff election by downloading it from the Internet, by email, or by fax."[54]

See also

Additional reading

References

  1. Alabama Secretary of State Elections Division "Voter Registration Info" accessed April 17, 2012
  2. Alaska Division of Elections "2012 Elections Calendar," accessed April 25, 2012
  3. Arizona Secretary of State "Important Dates," accessed April 25, 2012
  4. Arkansas Matters "Deadline: Register by Monday to Vote in Arkansas Primary," April 22, 2012
  5. California Secretary of State "Election FAQS" accessed April 17, 2012
  6. Fair Vote.org "Congressional and Presidential Primaries: Open, Closed, Semi-Closed, and "Top Two"" accessed June 12, 2012
  7. Colorado Secretary of State "Voter Registration FAQ" accessed April 17, 2012
  8. Connecticut Secretary of State Elections Division "Registration Deadlines" accessed April 17, 2012
  9. Delaware Election Commissioner "2012 Election Calendar," accessed April 25, 2012
  10. Florida Department of State "Register to Vote," accessed April 25, 2012
  11. Georgia Secretary of State "Election Dates," accessed April 25, 2012
  12. Hawaii Office of Elections "Voter Registration," accessed April 25, 2012
  13. Idaho Votes "2012 Deadlines," accessed April 25, 2012
  14. Illinois State Board of Elections "2012 Election Calendar," accessed April 25, 2012
  15. Indiana Secretary of State "Register to Vote," accessed April 25, 2012
  16. Iowa Secretary of State "Voter Registration," accessed April 25, 2012
  17. Iowa Secretary of State "Primary Information," accessed April 25, 2012
  18. Kansas Secretary of State "Registration & Voting," accessed April 25, 2012
  19. Kentucky State Board of Elections "Voter Information Guide," accessed April 25, 2012
  20. Louisiana Secretary of State "Voter Registration," accessed April 25, 2012
  21. Maine Secretary of State "Maine Voter Guide," accessed April 25, 2012
  22. Maryland State Board of Elections "2012 Election Calendar," accessed April 25, 2012
  23. Massachusetts Secretary of State "How to Register to Vote," accessed April 25, 2012
  24. Michigan Secretary of State "2012 Registration Deadlines and Election Dates" accessed April 22, 2012
  25. Minnesota Secretary of State "Registering to Vote" accessed April 22, 2012
  26. Mississippi Secretary of State "2012 Elections Calendar," accessed April 25, 2012
  27. Missouri Secretary of State "2012 Election Calendar," accessed April 25, 2012
  28. Montana Secretary of State "Voter Information," accessed April 19, 2012
  29. Nebraska Secretary of State "Voter Information FAQ," accessed April 19, 2012
  30. Nevada Secretary of State "Election & Voter Registration Dates," accessed April 19, 2012
  31. New Hampshire Secretary of State "2012-2013 Political Calendar," accessed April 19, 2012
  32. New Jersey Secretary of State "How to Register," accessed April 19, 2012
  33. New Mexico Secretary of State "FAQ," accessed April 19, 2012
  34. New York Board of Elections "Voting Deadlines," accessed April 18, 2012
  35. North Carolina State Board of Elections "Registering to Vote," accessed April 19, 2012/
  36. North Dakota Secretary of State "North Dakota...The only state without voter registration" accessed April 22, 2012
  37. Ohio Secretary of State "Voter Registration" accessed April 22, 2012
  38. Oklahoma State Election Board "2012 Election Calendar," accessed April 19, 2012
  39. Oregon Secretary of State "OregonVotes: Important Dates for 2012 Primary Election," accessed April 19, 2012
  40. Pennsylvania Department of State "Registration Deadlines," accessed April 19, 2012
  41. Rhode Island Board of Elections "Upcoming Elections," accessed April 19, 2012
  42. South Carolina Election Commission "2012 Election Calendar," accessed April 19, 2012
  43. South Dakota Secretary of State "Registration and Voting," accessed April 19, 2012
  44. Tennessee Secretary of State "Election Calendar," accessed April 19, 2012
  45. Texas Secretary of State "2012 Primary Election Calendar & Appendices," accessed April 19, 2012
  46. State of Utah "Deadlines," accessed April 19, 2012
  47. Registration Deadlines Vermont Secretary of State "Voter Registration Deadlines," accessed April 19, 2012
  48. Virginia State Board of Elections "Voter Information: Registration Deadlines," accessed April 19, 2012
  49. Virginia State Board of Elections "2012 November Election Calendar," accessed April 19, 2012
  50. Washington Secretary of State "Dates and Deadlines," accessed April 19, 2012
  51. West Virginia Secretary of State "Voter Registration Calendar," accessed April 19, 2012
  52. Wisconsin Government Accountability Board "Registration and Voting," accessed April 19, 2012
  53. Wyoming Secretary of State "2012 Election Calendar," accessed April 19, 2012
  54. 54.0 54.1 54.2 54.3 Marine Corps Times, "Justice sues Georgia over voting deadlines" Accessed July 24, 2012