Primary Elections FAQ

Most people may see November as the month for elections, but we see voting as a 12-month effort. And with primary elections right around the corner (kicking off March 6 in Texas!), it’s time to be sure you’re ready to go. Below are a few FAQs that may be helpful for those who haven’t yet requested their ballots for 2018.

When are the primary elections?

The primary elections are organized by each state’s Democratic (or Republican) Committee to determine the party’s slate of nominees for various offices. Schedules vary by state, from March to September. Review the primary calendar here.

Can I vote from abroad in primary elections?

Maybe. Each state party determines its own primary rules. Some are “closed” primaries, which means that you have to already have registered as a member of that state party to be eligible to vote in the primary. Others are “open” which means you do not have to have registered with the party in advance. Many states also have residency requirements, so it depends on your state.

How can I vote from abroad in the primaries?

Visit Vote From Abroad.org and complete, download, print, sign, date and mail in the form to the address provided before the deadline indicated. There, you can also find information on schedule and submission requirements for all primaries by state under “Find Answers.”

What happens after I submit my ballot request?

You should receive an absentee ballot prior to the election, which will include all primary races you are eligible to vote in. Scrupulously follow the instructions provided and return the ballot in the manner indicated.

What about down-ballot offices, like Secretary of State or State Senator? Can I vote in those primaries?

This varies, mostly depending on your voter status. If you think your ballot incorrectly omits primaries that you are eligble to vote in, contact your local election office.

What if I don’t get my ballot?

If it is 30 days before your election and you have not yet received your ballot, please contact gotv@democratsabroad.org and our experts can advise.

Does Democrats Abroad have any preferred candidates in any of the primaries? Are you endorsing anyone?

As a state party, Democrats Abroad remains 100% neutral toward all candidates seeking the party nomination. Once a nominee is selected and identified (or in the case of run-off elections, once there is only one remaining Democratic candidate), we will be proud to help get out the vote for each Democratic candidate.

If I use Vote From Abroad to get my absentee ballot for the primary election, do I have to use it again for the general election in November?

No. You will be covered for all elections held in the same calendar year, so your state will also send you the absentee ballot for the November election. Of course, there is no harm in contacting your Local Elections Office directly to confirm your ballot is on its way.

Questions about the November elections?

Review our Midterm FAQs, contact gotv@democratsabroad.org or visit Vote From Abroad to explores schedules, deadlines and ballot requirements.