An Overview of the Primaries

From pre-registration signs up at high schools across the country to constant reminders from the politically active— elections cause a big stir in the US. Primary season wrapped up earlier this month, with Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Delaware holding their primaries on September 13. Primary elections are held so that each party is able to elect one candidate to move forward to the general election. This prevents an overwhelming amount of contenders in the general elections.

To some surprise, Kansas voters voted to protect against more extreme abortion bans. Being pro-choice is normally a Democratic characteristic, and Kansas is known to vote in a more conservative direction. According to a CNN report by Veronica Stracqualursi, “In its August primary, Kansas was the first state in the nation to let voters weigh in on abortion since the high court overturned Roe v. Wade, and Kansans overwhelmingly chose to reject a state constitutional amendment that would have given state lawmakers the green light to help enact more restrictive abortion laws.”

In addition to this, Alaska voted blue in a special election, filling its singular seat in the House of Representatives with a Democrat for the first time since 1972. The seat became vacant after longtime Representative Don Young (R) died in March 2022. Mary Peltola will fill the seat until the new term begins in January 2023. She is the first Alaska Native to serve in Congress and the female Alaskan representative in the House. To keep the seat until the next election cycle in 2024, she will have to win again in November’s general election. Alaska additionally adopted a new ranked-choice voting system for this year’s election. Candidates from both parties compete against each other in the primaries, and the top four candidates move on. Voters rank the candidates in order of preference. To win the seat, a candidate needs to get 50% of the vote. If no candidate gains a majority, then the second choice votes of voters who selected the candidate in last place are used.

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