What’s an open state primary election?
In Michigan's August 4, 2020 Primary Election, voters must choose either the Democratic Party Section (the first column) or the Republican Party Section (second column). The party you choose is a private matter. Michigan voters don’t have to declare a party in an open primary. Your party choice is not public. However, it is a public record that you voted. People can check the record to see if you voted, but they will not know what political party you selected.
There are pluses and minuses to an open primary. Some say it dilutes both parties’ ability to nominate. Others say this system gives voters maximum flexibility – allowing you to vote for whichever party you chose while maintaining privacy. Currently, fifteen states have open primaries.
As a voter in an open primary, you must Stay In Your Lane. You either vote for the Democratic candidates or the Republican candidates. No crossing parties. The ballot has two partisan sections. All Democratic candidates, including precinct delegates, are listed in the first column or ‘lane’. It’s called ‘Partisan Section: Democratic Party Section’. All Republican candidates are listed separately in the second column or ‘lane’. Selecting a candidate from both the Democratic section and the Republican section will cause your votes to be rejected. This is known as ‘split ticket voting’. It is allowed in the general election, but not in an open primary! In an open primary it is a bad thing.
Finally, the nonpartisan section lists candidates without party affiliation and may include petitions. Voters should remember the nonpartisan section. Voting instructions are provided.
To make sure your vote is counted, Stay In Your Lane. Keep to the left to vote Democratic and remember to turn the ballot over.
The winners of the Primary Election will face off (Democratic versus Republican) in the General Election in November.