Skip to main content

Primary and Runoff Primary Elections

What are primary and runoff primary elections?

Primary elections and runoff primary elections provide all recognized political parties in Oklahoma the opportunity to select its nominees (or candidates) for the general election ballot.

Primaries are required to be held when more than one candidate from the same political party files for the same partisan office.

You do not have to participate in a primary election in order to participate in a runoff primary election or general election.


Oklahoma has modified, closed primaries. This includes runoff primaries.

In order to participate in a political party’s primary election or runoff primary election, you must be a registered voter of that political party – unless the party opens its primaries to unaffiliated voters, known as Independents. There are three recognized parties in Oklahoma: Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian.

For the 2024-2025 election years, the Democratic Party has chosen to open its primaries to Independents. The Republican and Libertarian parties have chosen to keep their primaries closed.

Independent voters who wish to vote a Democratic Primary ballot must request a Democratic Primary ballot, whether voting in person or by absentee ballot. Independent voters may not vote a Republican Primary ballot or Libertarian Primary ballot.


Candidates who receive the majority of the votes cast for their office in their respective political party’s primary election will advance to the general election in November. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will advance to the runoff primary election in August.

If candidates from only one political party file for an office, the elected official will be chosen during the primary election or runoff primary election. No general election will be held.


All eligible voters may participate in nonpartisan elections that occur during a primary election or runoff primary election. For example, if you are not eligible (or do not wish) to participate in a political party’s primary election or runoff primary election, you may still vote on other nonpartisan elections or issues on the ballot – such as judicial elections, state questions, or county or municipal elections.

Last Modified on May 17, 2024
Back to Top