A general election can include federal, state, county, city, town, and special district contests. Voters can choose candidates of any party regardless of party preference. State propositions and local measures typically appear on the ballot. A general election is held on the first Tuesday (after the first Monday) in November of every even year.
- A presidential general is held every four years and includes a contest for president.
A primary election determines what candidates appear on the ballot in the November general election. Primary elections are held in even years. Local measures may be included.
- A statewide primary is held the first Tuesday in June (after the first Monday) except in presidential years when it is consolidated with the presidential primary and held on the first Tuesday in March (after the first Monday).
- A presidential primary is a contest between candidates of a specific political party for president, vice president, and the county central committee. Eligibility to participate in a party’s primary is determined by the party. Beginning in 2020, the presidential primary will be consolidated with the statewide primary and is held on the first Tuesday (after the first Monday) in March.
- A top-two primary is a contest in which all candidates are listed on the same primary ballot. The top two vote-getters, regardless of their partisan affiliations, advance to the general election. As a result, it is possible for two candidates of the same political party to win in a top-two primary and face off in the general election. Offices selected using the top-two primary including governor, state representatives and senators, and US representatives and senators.
A special election is usually initiated by local governments and districts. Only certain Tuesdays can be used to hold this type of election based on established election dates.