Voter Help Desk
State of New York
What are primaries?

In a primary, voters narrow the field of candidates. For races where candidates are affiliated with a political party, primaries are contests between candidates within the same political party to choose the candidate whose name will appear on the ballot in the general election. In a primary for these "partisan" races, voters may only vote for candidates within one party. Elections for local officials (mayor, county commissioner, city council, etc.) and for judicial races are non-partisan - the candidates do not run as part of a political party. A primary for these "non-partisan" races simply narrows the number of candidates who will appear on the general election ballot.


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