Open vs Closed Primary: Difference and Comparison

Primary Elections or Primaries exist in various countries depending upon the type of election that country follows. This election is most prevalent in America, where voters get the chance to elect the candidate in the general, local, or by-election.

Key Takeaways

  1. In an open primary, voters can participate regardless of their party affiliation, while a closed primary requires voters to be registered members of a specific party.
  2. Open primaries encourage wider participation and may attract independent or undecided voters, whereas closed primaries focus on party loyalty and consistency.
  3. Critics argue that open primaries can lead to strategic voting, while closed primaries may limit voter engagement and alienate independent voters.

Open vs Closed Primary

An open primary is a type of election where the voters of different parties or any neutral party are allowed to vote in the primary elections of that party. A closed primary is the type of election that is exclusive to only registered voters, and there is a restriction on independent voters.

Open vs Closed Primary

Open Primary is a system of voting in which a registered voter of any affiliated party can give their vote to any party primary. In America, twenty-four states follow the open primary system.

People who are independent or don’t belong to any affiliated party cannot vote in a closed primary. But during the general elections, voters of closed primary can vote for another party.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonOpen PrimaryClosed Primary
Voter TypeIndependent VotersRegistered voters
ParticipationDiscourages voter participationEncourages Voter Participation
PromotesPromotes ‘cross over’ voting.Promotes party unity
RestrictionsAllows any votersRestricted to only members
States in the USA2414

What is Open Primary?

In open Primary elections, voters of any party or voters who don’t belong to any party are neutral can vote in the primary of that party. They can vote for both partisan as well as non-partisan members.

Also Read:  Active Duty vs Reserve: Difference and Comparison

In America, there are twenty-four open primary states, namely, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee,

Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. Voters in the Open primary have the greatest advantage because they can vote secretly for another party’s primary.

It has the advantage that it promotes crossover voting in which voters of other parties can influence the voting of the primary party by giving the vote to the candidate who is weak so that the opposition parties can get the advantage of it.


What is Closed Primary?

A closed primary encourages the participation of voters. Because it is restricted to only registered voters, closed primary members can only vote in the election of the primary party.

A closed primary encourages the unity of the party. Because of its closed system, it ensures that the nomination and selection of the candidates of the primary party are influenced by only the members registered.

But they can do it only if they are registered on Election Day. They can change their affiliation, but until that, they should remain registered with the initial party.

Main Differences Between Open and Closed Primary

  1. Open Primary doesn’t have any restrictions it allows everybody to cast a vote. But they can vote only one time. Closed Primary puts restrictions on independent voters.
  2. In the USA, there are 24 Open Primary states which include semi-open as well. There are 14 Closed Primary states in the USA, including semi-closed.
Also Read:  Patriarchy vs Paternalism: Difference and Comparison

Last Updated : 21 August, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

24 thoughts on “Open vs Closed Primary: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The main differences between open and closed primaries have been elucidated with clarity, facilitating an in-depth understanding of their operational disparities.

    • Absolutely, Cdavis. The article provides a clear and concise analysis of the primary election systems, offering valuable knowledge to readers.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Cdavis. The comparative insights into open and closed primaries are particularly insightful, enabling readers to grasp the nuances of electoral processes.

  2. The detailed explanations of open and closed primaries, coupled with their impact, fosters a comprehensive understanding of the electoral dynamics in the U.S.

    • I couldn’t agree more, Tara41. The article is a valuable resource for understanding the complexities of primary elections and their implications.

  3. The concepts of open and closed primaries have been elucidated in a manner that is both insightful and engaging. Great article.

    • I concur with both Ywilliams and Cox Ray. The article offers valuable insights into the nuances of open and closed primary systems.

    • Absolutely, Ywilliams. The article covers the subject comprehensively, making it an excellent resource for those interested in electoral processes.

  4. The distinction between open and closed primaries, along with the details on voter participation, provides a solid foundation for better understanding the electoral landscape.

    • Well-said, Dean85. The article effectively delves into the intricacies of primary elections, elucidating the differences between open and closed systems.

  5. The references provided furnish credibility to the insights presented in the article, enriching the discourse on open and closed primary systems.

    • Indeed, Thomas46. The references augment the article’s comprehensiveness, enhancing its value as a reliable source of information on primary elections.

    • I concur with Thomas46 and Matthew31. The incorporation of references fortifies the article’s authority, providing readers with a wealth of relevant information.

  6. The article offers a comprehensive exploration of open and closed primary systems, catering to readers looking for a well-rounded understanding of primary elections.

    • Indeed, Teagan26. The article’s in-depth coverage of primary election systems is commendable, serving as an invaluable resource for readers interested in electoral procedures.

    • Yes, I found the comparison table quite informative. This article provides a comprehensive insight into the primary election systems.

  7. The advantages and disadvantages of open and closed primaries have been well-addressed in the article, providing a great reference for further discussion.

    • Indeed, the article gives a clear understanding of the implications of open and closed primaries, and its potential impact on the electoral process.

    • I completely agree, Carter Vicky. The insights provided in the article allow for a comprehensive analysis of primary election systems.

  8. The overview of open and closed primary states provides a valuable reference for those interested in the electoral structures across different regions.

    • Indeed, the comprehensive coverage of open and closed primary states delivers a thorough understanding of the diverse electoral systems in the United States.

    • I agree with you, Kclarke. The explanation of open and closed primaries has been made in a very detailed and professional manner.


Leave a Comment

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!