The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Breaking down the jungle primary system

For college students in Louisiana, the complexities of local and state elections can be as daunting as their coursework. If the phrase “jungle primary” leaves you scratching your head, you’re in good company.

According to Louisiana’s Secretary of State website, a jungle primary is where all candidates run against each other on the same ballot. They run together in one election, regardless of party. 

If a candidate gets over 50% of the votes in the primary election, they win the seat without the need for another election in November.

For popular candidates, it is possible to win the seat in the primary, such as Bobby Jindal in his last gubernatorial run.

However, polls indicate that this year, there is likely going to be a second election needed.

This is the most common outcome, where nobody wins outright. In this case, the top two vote-getters are put on a ballot in November so that the votes are focused on the top candidates, with no room for spoilers.

Unlike most state primaries, Louisiana allows you to vote for a candidate of any party, regardless of your personal registration. This means two Republicans or two Democrats could run against each other in the general election if candidates from the same party win in the primary. 

This year, Louisiana’s primary election is Oct. 14, and the general election will be Nov. 18. This gives the two general election candidates five weeks to make their final push to voters.

Most state’s political parties offer primary elections called a closed primary, which is where only members of a party can vote in that party’s primary. Other states have open primaries, in which you can vote in any party’s primary, but the ballots are still separated by party.

According to PBS, California and Washington do a similarly styled election where there is a top-two primary format. But these states differ from Louisiana because no one can win in the primary — even if a candidate gets over 50% of the votes, there will still be a general election. 

These types of primaries are unique since you don’t have to be registered with a party to vote. In Texas, for example, a registered Independent would not be able to vote in any primary, but in Louisiana, they could vote in the jungle primary.

Early voting for the primary begins Sept. 30 and will continue until Oct. 7. 

For more information on how to register to vote in person, online or by mail, visit 

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