2020 Primaries

COVID-19 Update: Many states have moved the date of their primary elections due to COVID-19.

Please check www.vote.org/covid-19 to learn more about voting and COVID-19 in your state.

Massachusetts Primary

The Massachusetts 2020 Primary will be held on September 1st, 2020!

The presidential primary was held on March 3rd, but all other primary races in MA will take place on September 1st. This includes the MA Senate primary.

MA Primary Dates and Deadlines

  • Register to vote - August 22nd
  • Return vote-by-mail application - received by August 26th or ASAP!
  • Return voted mail-in ballot - received by 8pm on September 1st

The MA primary is semi-closed.

A semi-closed primary means that if you are registered with a particular party, you must vote in that party's primary. If you are registered as an independent, you may choose which party's primary you wish to vote in. If you would like to check which party you are registered with, check your voter registration on the Secretary of State's website HERE.

Voting in the MA primary

Massachusetts has recently passed a new law allowing all registered voters to vote by mail in any 2020 election, including the Primary (September 1) and the General Election (November 3). A 2020 Vote by Mail Application will be mailed to all registered voters after July 15. It is strongly recommended to fill out and return your application as soon as possible so that you will receive your ballot in time. You can request a mail-in ballot for both the Primary and the General Election using this form. After sending in your application, you can track your mail-in ballot here. Ballots for the Primary will be mailed to voters in early August.

You can also still vote in person for the MA primaries. On Election Day, polls are open from 7am to 8pm. You can find your polling place HERE. Early voting is also available from August 22nd to August 28th. Cambridge early voting locations and hours will be posted HERE one week before. Early voting locations and hours elsewhere in MA can be found HERE one week before the election.

Primaries in Other States

Click the button below for more information on elections in other states.

Primary Election Format Vocabulary

Each state and sometimes each party within a given state has its own date and format for the primary elections.


A caucus takes the place of a traditional primary election in some states. In a caucus, the members of a political party meet in a convention and register their support for a given candidate. For more information on the difference between a caucus and a primary election, click here.


The distinction Open/Semiopen/Semiclosed/Closed determines which people of which party affiliations can vote in which primary. In an open primary, anyone can vote in the primary of their choosing, even if they are registered in a different party. In a semi-open primary, anyone may vote in the primary of their choosing, but they must publically declare the party primary they are choosing to vote in. Voting in that primary may be taken as registration in that party. In a semi-closed party, unaffiliated voters may vote in the primary of their choosing, but people registered with a specific primary must vote in that primary. In a closed primary, only those registered with the party may vote in that party's primary. For more information, click here.

Partisan/Nonpartisan Voter Registration

In a partisan voter registration system, a person's party registration is recorded with their voter registration. The party a person chooses to register with may determine which primary they can vote in (see Open/Closed above). In a nonpartisan voter registration system, a person's political party is not recorded with their registration.