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Voters Begin Picking Midterm Candidates

Election season is underway, with primaries set for March 6 to Sept. 12

people voting in polling place with American flag stiped curtains

Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

36 governors across America will be chosen. All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election.

En español | All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for election. Currently, there are 238 Republicans and 193 Democrats, with four vacancies. In the U.S. Senate, comprised of 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats, 35 seats will be up for grabs.

Across America, 36 governors will be chosen. Now, there are 33 Republican governors, 16 Democratic and one independent. Thousands of state senators and representatives are also on the ballot. These races are particularly important because the state leaders elected this fall will be the ones to decide how congressional redistricting lines are drawn after the U.S. Census in 2020.  

Who can vote in primaries varies widely by state. Some primaries are closed, meaning only those individuals registered in a party can vote in that primary. In partially closed primaries, each party decides whether the contest is open to voters not registered in any party.

In open primary states, voters can cast a ballot in any party’s primary. When a primary is partially open, voters can vote in any primary, but they then must register with that party.

A few states have unusual primary systems. In California, Washington and Louisiana, there’s one primary ballot and the top two finishers — regardless of party – move on to the general election.

Some states hold runoff elections when the top candidate does not reach a certain percentage of the vote. To find out the rules in your state, contact your local or state election office.

Here is this year’s primary schedule.

March 6: Texas

March 20: Illinois

May 8: Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia

May 15: Oregon, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Nebraska

May 22: Kentucky, Georgia, Arkansas

June 5: Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota

June 12: Maine, Nevada, North Dakota, South Carolina, Virginia

June 19:  District of Columbia

June 26: Colorado, Maryland, Oklahoma, Utah

Aug. 2: Tennessee

Aug. 7: Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Washington

Aug. 11: Hawaii

Aug. 14: Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, Wisconsin

Aug. 21: Alaska, Wyoming

Aug. 28: Arizona, Florida

Sept. 4: Massachusetts

Sept. 6: Delaware

Sept. 11: New Hampshire, New York

Sept. 12: Rhode Island

Nov. 6: Louisiana (This is the only primary on Election Day. If no candidate gets a majority, there’s a Dec. 8 runoff.)