MINOT, N.D. — Someone is running polling in North Dakota asking voters how they might feel about a ballot measure to amend the state constitution and implement what’s called a “jungle” or “blanket” primary system.
In North Dakota, the candidates who represent the political parties on the November ballot are chosen first at conventions put on by the parties themselves and then ultimately on the June primary ballot, which is run by the state.
Really, it’s only the June primary vote that counts, and it runs like a normal election, except that voters choose which slate of candidates they want to vote on. You can pick a Republican ballot, or a Democratic ballot, or even a third-party ballot, if there’s one qualified in a given cycle. Then you vote for which candidates you’d like to be the party’s nominees in November.
North Dakota also has what’s called an open primary, which means that you don’t actually need to have any sort of membership or affiliation with one of the parties to vote on their candidates. North Dakota is also the only state in the union without voter registration. So you can show up, show an ID, and vote.
But some states, notably Alaska, Washington, California, and Louisiana, have what are called “jungle” or “blanket” primaries. Instead of there being a separate ballot for each party in the June primary, all of the candidates are on one ballot, and the two candidates with the most votes in each race (or more, in some states) advance from the primary to the general election.