What Is a Primary Election?

A primary is an election that may take place within each of New York State’s official political parties (i.e. Democratic, Republican, Conservative, or Working Families). It precedes the general election and provides enrolled political party members the opportunity to nominate their party’s candidates for elected office as well as to elect various party officials. For example, three individuals, all members of the same political party, circulated petitions to appear on the November election ballot. A Primary Election is conducted to determine which of these three candidates will represent that position and political party.  State and local Primary Elections are held during the month of June; every four years there can also be a Presidential Primary held during the month of April.

However, if there is no contest, meaning no competition within the political party membership to serve in that position, there is no primary.