The dates for state primaries are listed below. These primaries are used by political parties to determine which candidates for legislative seats will go on the general election ballot on Nov. 3, 2020. These include legislative seats in 46 states along with U.S. senators and representatives, governors and statewide officials. (For presidential primary dates, see below.)
Note that Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia hold their legislative elections in odd-numbered years. The dates listed for those states apply to congressional and other races. See our report, Why do Four States have Odd-Year Elections?, for more information.
The earliest state primaries for 2020 are held March 3 and the latest in mid-September. June and August are the busiest months for state primaries.
Some states have reserved dates for a primary runoff in the event that no candidate gets the requisite percentage of votes. For details on how runoffs work in these states, visit NCSL's Primary Runoffs webpage.
Louisiana’s Nov. 3, 2020, election is an all-comers primary, where candidates of all parties are listed on one ballot together. If no candidate for a race receives a majority of the votes, the winner will be determined in a runoff on Dec. 5.
The manner in which party primary elections are conducted varies widely from state to state. Please visit the State Primary Elections page for information on types of primaries, such as "closed," "open" and "Top Two."
Note that primary dates are subject to change. Dates listed here are based on state election resources or statutory requirements as of October 15, 2019.