2006 Guide

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The difference between a primary and general election

State House of Representatives

Kalamazoo County Commission, 6th Dist.

9th Circuit Court Judge

Juvenile Home Bond Proposal

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The Difference Between a Primary and
a General Election

A primary election is held by the political parties to select their nominees for the offices to be elected at the upcoming general election. In a primary, Republicans run against Republicans and Democrats run against other Democrats. And, of course, if other parties qualify to appear on the primary ballot, their candidates run against each other as well. In a primary, you may vote on only one party’s candidates. You cannot split your ballot between the various political parties. A primary election may also be held for nonpartisan races in order to narrow the number of candidates for the general election.

A general election is between party nominees and any candidates without political party affiliation. The general election determines which candidates will occupy the office that is up for election. Statewide ballot proposals also appear on the general election ballot.

The state and local elections included in this Guide are ones in which:

  • There is more than one candidate for a political party. For example, if there are two or more Republicans running against each other, we included information about those candidates, as well as any Democrats in that race, even if there is a single unopposed Democrat. The races for State Representative for the 60th, 61st and 63rd Districts, as well as Kalamazoo County Commissioner District 6, met this criterion.
  • The election is intended to narrow the number of candidates, as in the case of the 9th Circuit Court Judge.