It’s not ‘just’ a primary: 3 reasons why your vote matters

While general elections tend to get a lion's share of the attention, voting in our primaries is equally – if not more – important.

Nebraska’s statewide primary election is almost upon us. Our primary elections, held every other May, are largely seen as preludes to the main event, the general election in November. While general elections do tend to get a lion’s share of the attention, voting in our primaries is equally, if not more, important for several reasons.
Here are three.

1. Your primary vote helps shape the general election.

Primaries play a pivotal role in shaping the choices you have during the general election. May is when voters select their candidates for different offices, both partisan and nonpartisan. By participating in the primary, you have a say in determining who will represent your party (and in nonpartisan races, your district or locale) in the general election. Your vote can help lift the candidates who align with your values and priorities to the final ballot.
For example, if you are passionate about healthcare reform, voting in the primary allows you to support the candidate who has the strongest platform on that issue. By voting in the primary, you are doing your part to help nominate a candidate who will prioritize your chosen issues if elected.

2. Your primary vote can influence candidate (and party) priorities.

Primaries aren’t only about picking candidates. By participating in the primary election, you can help guide the direction of your party (or candidate) and the issues it (or they) prioritizes.
Your primary vote, along with those of others, is a signal to party leaders about the issues that matter most to you. If enough voters prioritize certain issues, that can push the party and its candidates to take a stronger stance on those issues. How you vote in the primary can serve to inform your party’s platform.

3. Your primary vote can build enthusiasm for the general.

In many cases, participating in primaries can lead to more competitive general elections. Strong voter turnout in the primary election indicates high enthusiasm within the different parties, and that can translate to greater overall voter turnout in November. Competitive primaries also compel candidates to engage with voters and address important issues, making them better prepared for the general election campaign.
Primary voting also allows you to learn about (and even support) candidates who have the best chance of winning in the general election. By participating in the primary, you play a part in nominating candidates who are not only aligned with your values but who also have the ability to win in the general election.
So be sure to cast your primary ballot on or before Primary Election Day on Tuesday, using whatever method you prefer. They’re an important part of our democratic process, have a powerful effect on the general election, and require as many voices as possible for a successful general election six months from now. Go vote, Nebraska!

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