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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Primary Election

A primary is an election, typically held in August, that gives voters a chance to decide which candidates will represent their political party in the November general election. Primaries can also be used in nonpartisan races to reduce the number of candidates that go on to the general election. For example, in an election to fill one office, the top two candidates from the primary will go on to the general election.

View primary election dates.

How to Vote in a Primary

  • In a partisan primary election, you can only vote for candidates from one political party. The front of the ballot will have a column for each major political party. You are free to choose any one political party on the ballot. Voting for candidates from more than one party voids all votes on the party portion of the ballot.
  • You are not required to publicly declare affiliation with a party—Minnesota does not have political party registration.
  • No write-in votes are allowed.
  • On the back of the ballot, there may be nonpartisan races for local and judicial candidates who are not affiliated with political parties. Since these candidates do not have a party affiliation, you can choose any candidate in as many of the races as you like.
Last updated: 8/13/2014 9:17:56 AM