General Information about the primaries
February 1, 2016: Registration Deadline for Presidential
March 1, 2016: Presidential Primary Election
April 26, 2016: State and Local Primary Election Registration Deadline
May 24, 2016: State and Local Primary Election
The primaries are elections between candidates of the same party with the purpose of electing one candidate in the November general election. Candidates should register by a pre-determined deadline in order to appear in their state’s primaries ballot. The primaries aim to have two tickets – one ticket for the Democratic candidate and another one for the Republican candidate, but this is not always the case.The candidate with the most votes in each party proceeds to the second round of elections.
There are also two types of primaries –open and closed– although some states have a hybrid form of the two.
In a closed primary- voters can only vote for a candidate from within their party.
In the Pennsylvania primaries, for example, only registered Republicans can vote for their preferred Republican presidential candidate.
In an open primary, voters from both parties can vote for candidates from either party, and the ticket is not divided by party. In other words, party affiliation is not required to vote. Georgia has an open primary.
Whichever candidate receives the most delegates at the end of the primary election is presumed to be their respective party’s presidential nominee until they are formally nominated by their political party.
Information about the general election
October 11, 2016: Voter Registration Deadline for General Elections
November 8, 2016: Federal, State and Local General Elections
In the general elections, instead of competing within their parties, candidates square off against other parties. The highest elected office in the general election is the Presidency, elected indirectly by the Electoral College every 4 years. Although U.S Senate and U.S Congressional Representative elections can fall on the same year as presidential elections, they occur every 2 years and the candidates are selected directly by the people.
Many state and local offices host their elections during presidential election years because of convenience and a way to save money, although a small amount of states host elections for state positions (ex: governor) during midterm elections. Georgia hosts their gubernatorial elections during midterm years 2 years before and after presidential elections (i.e 2010, 2014 etc.)