In all states, the election process incorporates primaries and general elections. But these vary greatly, from closed party primaries, in which only registered party members can vote, open primaries in which all voters can choose to vote in any party’s primary, to a few states that use top-two or similar primary structures in which candidates from all parties appear on a single ballot. Some localities and one state (Maine) have begun experimenting with ranked-choice voting, in which voters can rank candidates in order of preference, combining the primary and general elections into one event.
State electoral systems apply to both state offices, such as governor, and federal elections for House and Senate. Presidential primaries are controlled by state and national political parties.