Primary & General Elections - The U.S. Election Process
A primary election is a nominating election in which a candidate is chosen by a political party. A primary election can be either open or closed. If a primary election is closed, only those who are members of the respective party may vote. An open primary is one in which any eligible voter, regardless of party affiliation, may vote.
A general election is an election held to choose among candidates nominated in a primary (or by convention or caucus) for federal, state and local office. The purpose of a general election is to make a final choice among the various candidates who have been nominated by parties or who are running as independent or write-in candidates. In addition, where nonpartisan races have not been decided in the primary, the runoffs are held at the general election. Statewide measures also can be placed on the November ballot.
A Genearal Election is held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November in even-numbered years, the so-called Election Day.