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Difference between primary and general election

primary and general election

We all know what elections are and why they are conducted. What comes to mind first on hearing the word elections is the process whereby a country’s candidates are voted for so as to allow them to take over certain positions. By definition, an election refers to a process by which a population chooses candidates to hold public office. It is a formal process of decision-making. Note that these are not the only types of elections; elections are conducted in various organizations, clubs, schools etc. to make sure that the hierarchy that operates has positions that were given to them democratically. When we speak about the elections that are conducted in a country, there are two main types; primary elections and general elections. There are certain differences between the two as we shall now point out.

If the election is such that it narrows the field of the contesting candidates before the election then it is a primary election. This is also referred to as an electoral college. It is the election process conducted at the party level whereby the members of a political party or political alliance vote to determine which of the candidates will take part in the general elections as the representative of the party. On the other hand, a general election is one in which most or all of the members of the political party are chosen. These are the elections that are held for the nation’s primary legislative body. General elections have a slightly different connotation in presidential systems; they refer to an election process that is regularly scheduled and is one in which the president as well as either of a class or the whole group of members of the national legislature are elected. There may also be elections for local offices on the day of the general elections.

To explain in simpler words, primary elections are conducted within a political party to select nominees that will compete in the general elections for the office they compete for. This means that this is an election process whereby the Republicans will compete against other Republicans and the Democrats against the other Democrats so as to determine the candidates that will represent their respective parties. This implies that in a primary election, one can only vote for one party’s candidates. The ballot cannot be split between various political parties. Moreover, a primary election may also be conducted for nonpartisan races with the same motive of narrowing down the number of candidates for the general elections that follow. However, general elections are between the nominees of a party as well as candidates that do not have any party affiliation. In this case, it is possible to split one’s ballot between various political parties. The election results of a general election determine who will occupy the office that is being competed for. In addition to this, state-wide ballot proposals can also appear on the ballot of the general election.

The two elections being discussed are part of the same path with one following the other. A person who wishes to win an office in the government must first win the primary elections within his party and then win the general elections. However, for a person who does not belong to any party and is an independent candidate, winning the general elections is the only step before he can take up public office.

Summary

    1. An election is the process whereby a country’s cadidates are voted for so as to allow them to take over certain positions

  • Primary election-narrows the field of the contesting candidates before the general election, also referred to as an electoral college, the election process conducted at the party level whereby the members of a political party or political alliance vote to decide which of the candidates will take part in the general elections as the representative of the party; General election is one in which most or all of the members of the political party are chosen, elections that are held for the nation’s primary legislative body

 

  • Primary elections are conducted within a political party; general elections are between the nominees of a party as well as candidates that do not have any affiliation with a political party

 

  • Possible to split one’s ballot between various political parties in general elections but not in primary elections

 


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