The NCSL Blog


By Eliza Steffen

After a slew of elections two weeks ago, 26 states have held their primaries, so we're over halfway through primary season.

Some Maryland voters might find themselves spending a little extra time in the voting booth (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) Tuesday is Election Day for seven more states: Colorado, Maryland, Oklahoma, Utah, South Carolina, Mississippi and New York.

Four states—Colorado, Maryland, Oklahoma and Utah—are holding regular primary elections, involving about 18 million people and 5.7 percent of the U.S. population. Two states are holding runoff races. South Carolina's runoff will decide the Republican nominee for governor, attorney general, and the 4th U.S. House District.

In other runoffs, Mississippi voters will choose the Democratic U.S. Senate nominee along with the Republican U.S. House race in the 3rd District. Although New York's primaries for federal candidates are Tuesday, primaries for state and local races are scheduled for Sept. 13.

By the end of Tuesday, about 65 percent of U.S. voters will have had the chance to vote in a primary election. More than half (55 percent) of candidates for state legislative seats will have been decided—3,339 of the 6,066 seats up in the November midterms. Of those, 667 are in the Senate and 2,672 are in the House.

After Tuesday, "summer break" for primary season starts. There won't be another regular primary election for over a month, until Tenessee (July 17) and Georgia (July 24) will have runoff primaries

Of the four states with traditional primaries Tuesday, all have news of interest beyond their borders relating to their ballots and processes.

This year is the first primary where Colorado's more than 1.2 million unaffiliated voters can cast a ballot, but hundreds of the 96,127 unaffiliated ballots already received won't count because voters submitted both a Democratic AND a Republican party ballot.

In Maryland, all 47 Senate seats are up for election. Senators serve four-year terms, which end in 2022, meaning that the new senators will have a major role in the upcoming redistricting process.

In addition to primary races, Oklahoma citizens will vote on State Question 788, which would legalize medical marijuana.

It's starting to look like some parts of Utah will end up with higher voter turnout than in past years. As of last Thursday morning, Salt Lake County had already reached its 2016 turnout, at around 27 percent,  according to County Clerk Sherrie Swensen.

All in all, by Wednesday the nation will be well on its way to the general election in November.

Eliza Steffen is a student at Stanford University and an intern with NCSL's Elections and Redistricting program.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.