Understanding Primary Elections: How They Work and The Parties Involved

The Primary Elections take place for most of the country in the months of June, August, and September.  Every American who has registered to vote is eligible to take part in this important election.  The Primary is the final opportunity for voters to voice who will (and who will not) be on the ballot in November.

The process and the parties differ in each state, so here is a quick overview of how (and when) your state votes….and what parties might be on the ballot.

The Parties:

America has quite a few political parties, and those parties will only appear on the ballot in states where they qualified.  Some of the many parties you might see on the ballot in your state include the:

The Primary Voting Process:

The State in which you reside will determine what voting process is used during the Primary Election.  According to FairVote.org, there are four identifiable voting processes used across the country:

Open primary: In an open primary, voters of any affiliation may vote in the primaries of any party they choose. They cannot vote in more than one party’s primary, although that prohibition can be difficult to enforce in the event a party has a runoff election. In many open primary states voters do not indicate partisan affiliation when they register to vote.

Closed primary: In a closed primary, only voters registered with a given party can vote in that party’s primary. Parties may have the option to invite unaffiliated voters to participate, but such independent voters usually are left out of the primary unless they decide to give up their independent status.

Semi-closed primary: In a semi-closed primary, unaffiliated voters may choose which party primary to vote in, while voters registered with a party may only vote in that party’s primary. Representing a middle ground between the exclusion of independent voters in a closed primary and the free-for-all of open primaries, the semi-closed, primary eliminates concerns about voters registered  in other parties from “raiding” another party’s nominating contest.

Top two primary: The top two primary system puts all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, on the same ballot.  The top two vote-getters then face off in the general election. The top two system is used in California and Washington, as well as in Nebraska for its nonpartisan elections to the state’s legislature. Louisiana uses a variation of top two in which a second-round runoff only takes place if a candidate fails to win more than 50% of the vote in the first round.

To see how your state votes compared to other states, visit FairVote.org

Each state holds their primary during a certain month of the year, most occur between mid-summer and early fall.
Here is a list of states and U.S. Territories (75% of the U.S.) that hold their Presidential year primary elections during June, August, and September:

  • June Primary: Alabama, California, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, North Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and Virginia
  • August Primary: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Wyoming
  • September Primary:  Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Guam, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Virgin Islands, Wisconsin

Free Art Event for Veterans in Washington, DC May 13 – May 18, 2012

Free Art Workshops and public events to promote creativity, wellness, and resilience in military communities.  Happening May 13th – May 18th, 2012 in Washington, DC.

  • View the flyer here
  • Register for FREE tickets online here

The Million Veteran March on the VA

Updated October 13, 2013

Are You Looking for the Million Vet March on the Memorials? Read the full story here: Veterans Rally at Their Memorials

I want you to circle the date of Sunday, October 13, 2013.

And then I want you to help “circle the wagons” on that day to help protect and defend our brave veterans who risked their lives for our freedom – and now are being barred from visiting the memorials erected to honor their deeds.

In a mean-spirited fit of selfish anger, Barack Obama has shut down our nation’s war memorials. And he has declared open war on our honored veterans!

The World War II memorial … the Vietnam Veterans Memorial … the Korean War Veterans Memorial – Obama has shut them all down to force his will on the House of Representatives and frankly, to get revenge on the American people who oppose Obamacare and his other naked power grabs.

Let’s put it plainly: Barack Obama is behaving like a vicious tyrant. And if he succeeds in this assault on the democratic system, the Republic we love is at mortal risk. It’s just that simple. That’s why I am asking you now to take two decisive moves to show Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi – and all of their oppressive ilk in Washington – that “We the People” are still in charge. And we won’t rest until we take back our memorials and monuments! –

See more at: http://vetmarch.com/#join

See photos of the #1MVetMarch

Original Post: March 10, 2012 by VFWlady Laurie Cox

What began as a great idea is slowly becoming the latest rave for Veterans across the United States.  Many veterans who have dutifully served their country are tired of long waits, long lines, slow response, and poor facility conditions of the Veterans Administration Hospitals nationwide.

America’s weary soldiers are so tired of less-than-adequate treatment, that a few have decided to band together and do what they do best…MARCH!  Where are they marching?  Well, on Washington of course.  There is already a group on Facebook, and the response has been so overwhelming that a website is under construction.

All they need now is 1,000,000 marching veterans.

Based on the huge number of veterans using the VA system as their sole source of healthcare, getting a million to march shouldn’t be a problem.  Here is what the organizers have to say,

The march on the VA has been created by and for all honorably discharged Veterans and their family’s. This organization represents Veterans from all branches and all wars.

According to the VA there are currently 2.9 million disabled veterans. It is time they hear us loud and clear, we will no longer be pushed aside and ignored. It is time we stand up for ourselves and sound off. We are 1st class citizens and we will no longer be treated like trash.

The VA counts on us to give up and for the most part many of us have. Well that is over with, it is time we start making some demands and letting the VA know we are not going to give up, we will not quit, we will not surrender, This is a fight for ourselves and our family’s.

We will no longer be complacent in this we have a voice and we will use it. This a grass root effort, so please do all you can in the way of spreading the word. The tentative date for the march is October 4, 2012.” Ask to “Join the group” and support Veterans for better VA healthcare! 

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Give A 2011 Year-End Gift To Veterans

Your gift to the Veterans of Foreign War’s 2011 Year-End Campaign helps VFW fight for veterans on Capitol Hill. The VFW gives veterans practical support in obtaining benefits.VFW leaders in Washington also have the influence and clout to help protect those benefits.

Whether politically or through programs, the Veterans of Foreign Wars provides a comprehensive safety net of care for veterans of every generation.

The VFW is near the end of their 2011 Year-End Campaign, and I’m writing personally to ask you to help us take action for America’s veterans in 2012.

I know you’re extremely proud of our veterans.

I am simply asking you to go one step further.

I’m challenging you to join me in making a generous year-end gift to help the courageous men and women who fight for this great country of ours. Thousands of new veterans are due back at the end of the year. I think that we owe these remarkable Americans some support and respect!

Your gift to the VFW helps show how much you appreciate the sacrifices made by this nation’s combat veterans and their families.

Make Your Year-End Gift

Your donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

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Understanding HOW the VOW to Hire Heroes Act “Works” for You

The Senate overwhelmingly passed the VOW to Hire Heroes Act (94-1) just before Veterans Day 2011.  But before this comprehensive veterans job bill moves forward, the House must vote on the “compromise language”  included in the VOW to Hire Heroes Act.

The House Veterans Affairs Committee has indicated the vote will happen once they return from their district work period.  Veterans organizations are hoping action is taken as soon as they return to Washington, ensuring the president can quickly sign it into law.

All veterans should learn HOW the VOW to Hire Heroes Act will provide valuable assistance above and beyond the increased opportunity for employment:


  • Expands education and training opportunities for older veterans by providing nearly 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI benefits to go towards education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools for high-demand jobs.
  • Makes the Transition Assistance Program (TAP)—an interagency workshop coordinated by Departments of Defense, Labor, and Veterans Affairs—mandatory for most service members moving on to civilian life to help them secure jobs in the 21st Century.
  • Works with the states to create licensing and credentialing standards to break down the barriers to find meaningful employment in their military occupations.
  • Allows service members to begin the federal employment process prior to separation in order to facilitate a truly seamless transition from the military.
  • Provides a tax credit of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months, as well as a $2,400 credit for veterans who are unemployed for more than 4 weeks, but less than 6 months. Also provides a tax credit of up to $9,600 for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months.

Currently there are 90 Members in the U.S. House of Representatives who are Veterans.

Read:  House Veterans Legislation Passes Senate

Starbucks CEO “Cuts Off” Washington: No Political Donations

Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, is cutting off political contributions to Washington and recruiting other CEOs to join him.

In a letter given to the Nasdaq and the NYSE, Schultz wrote: “I’m asking that all of us forgo political contributions until the Congress and the President return to Washington and deliver a fiscally, disciplined long term debt and deficit plan to the American people,”

Schultz’s own political donations have been largely given to the Democratic Party. Out of a total $183,650 in donations, only $1,000 went to Republican candidates.

Schultz also told CNNMoney yesterday, “All it seems people are interested in is re-election. And that re-election — the lifeblood of it is fundraising.”  He is unhappy with the current political culture that has “chosen to put partisan and ideological purity over the well being of the people.”

Schultz said his breaking point was raising the debt ceiling — and Washington’s failure to reach a long-term solution to lowering deficits.

“[Lawmakers] have stirred up fears about our economic prospects without doing anything to truly address those fears,” Schultz wrote to his fellow CEOs.

“It means reaching a deal on debt, revenue, and spending long before the deadline arrives this fall,” the letter said. “It means considering all options, from entitlement programs to taxes.”

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