ARIZONA ELECTION

Arizona presidential preference election vs. primary: What’s the difference?

Mar 23, 2016, 3:23 PM

Voters come and go near a polling station at sunrise in Arizona's presidential primary election, Tu...

Voters come and go near a polling station at sunrise in Arizona's presidential primary election, Tuesday, March 22, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — If you somehow missed it, there’s been much ado about long lines to vote in Arizona’s presidential preference election.

Voters waited for hours on Tuesday after county officials decided to open 60 polling places instead of the typical 200.

An official originally placed part of the blame on voters “for getting in line,” though Maricopa County Recorded Helen Purcell later walked back her comments and apologized.

Those voters were waiting to cast their vote for one person on one side of the political aisle. While Tuesday’s election has been referred to as a “primary,” a “presidential primary” and the proper “presidential preference election,” many were confused as to whether the terms were interchangeable, if at all.

The short explanation is: They’re not. Tuesday was different from a primary. Most headlines called it a primary because it’s way shorter than writing “presidential preference election” every 10 minutes.

Trust us on this one.

The long explanation is a little more complex.

On Tuesday, voters who were registered as Democrats, Republicans or members of the Green Party were allowed to vote for the presidential candidate they would prefer to elect (get the fancy name now?) in November’s general election.

The choices were simple: Republican voters could choose between Donald Trump (who won), Ted Cruz, John Kasich, a few other minor candidates or those who have left the race since registering to be on the ballot and some local candidates.

Democrats and Green Party members could chose between Hillary Clinton (who also won), Bernie Sanders and several minor candidates or others who have already announced they no longer seek the White House.

Independents were not allowed to vote, which is one of the main differences between Tuesday and a primary.

So why host two elections before voters pick a new president in November? What’s the purpose?

Tuesday awarded a certain amount of delegates to some of the candidates — Trump won all of Arizona’s 58 Republican delegates while Clinton and Sanders will divvy up the 85 Democratic delegates based on the number of votes they got. These delegates will eventually play a part in selecting each party’s nominee at summer conventions.

Arizona voters will next go to the polls Aug. 30, which is the state’s primary election.

At this point, all voters — independents included — will decide which candidates will run against each other for numerous offices, such as Congress and the state Legislature, among others.

Once this is decided, those candidates will be placed on the ballot for the general election, set for Nov. 8.

Still confused? This infographic boils it all down.

Arizona Election

The Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC) is now available to help learn about the...

KTAR.com

Maricopa County Recorder’s Office website offers self-guided virtual tour of elections center

The Maricopa County Recorder's Office website is now offering a virtual tour of the downtown Phoenix elections center.

2 hours ago

Vice President Kamala Harris, shown in front of an Arizona flag during a Phoenix campaign stop in 2...

Kevin Stone

Arizona’s full slate of Democratic delegates pledges to support Kamala Harris

The Arizona Democratic Party's full slate of delegates formally pledged to support Kamala Harris’ presidential bid on Tuesday.

17 hours ago

An election worker sorts through early mail ballots in Arizona. Election Day for the Arizona primar...

Kevin Stone

Arizona primary voters running out of time to return early ballots by mail

With one week left until the Arizona primary, voters should get their early ballots in the mail as soon as possible to ensure they are counted.

21 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Joe Biden calls in to Kamala Harris event, speaks for first time since stepping down from campaign

President Joe Biden breaks his silence, calling into a Kamala Harris event at Democratic headquarters Monday afternoon.

2 days ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Support for Kamala Harris amps up amid confusion of what lies ahead for the Democratic Party

In the hours following President Joe Biden’s departure from the presidential race, Democrats made Sunday the single largest day for online contributions since the 2020 election. With Kamala Harris as the presumed nominee, Christ & Joe ponder what hurdles may lay ahead for the vice president. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News Photo: Andrew […]

2 days ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: There’s no playbook for Democrats after Biden steps down, but what’s next may not be so confusing

ABC News political analyst Steven V. Roberts joined The Chris & Joe Show to discuss the current state of the Democratic Party after President Joe Biden announced his plan to suspend his campaign for reelection on Sunday.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

Arizona presidential preference election vs. primary: What’s the difference?