What's the difference between an open vs. closed primary?
Abe D. writes...
"Jeff. What's the difference between an open primary and a closed primary? It's so bloody confusing! How do I get more info for rules & the process my state?"
Good question Abe.
Here goes! I found some great sources of info for you, too.
In a CLOSED primary, only voters registered for the party which is holding the primary may vote. For instance: if the Democrat Party is holding a closed primary, then only voters registered as Democrats are permitted to vote in the primary.
In an OPEN primary, any registered voter can vote in any party's primary. Voters choose which primary to vote in (voters must choose ONE); they do not have to be members of that party in order to vote. For instance: a registered Democrat can choose to vote in the Republican primary but NOT BOTH Democratic Primary AND Republican Primary.
Not finished yet...
In a MIXED (semi-open, semi-closed) primary, unaffiliated voters (voters who are not registered to a particular party) can choose which party primary to vote in, while voters registered with a party may only be allowed vote in that party's primary. However, voters may also be able to switch their party registration on the day of voting, before they vote. Check your state for specific details.
For more information...
Below are several great links to both help explain the process further AND display state-by-state info for you.
Open vs. Closed vs. Semi-Closed:
Congressional Primary Type (by state):
Presidential Primary or Caucus Type (by state):