UPDATED - June 9th, 2022

America Has a Primary Problem

Follow the 2022 primary season in real-time as Unite America tracks how partisan primaries disenfranchise voters, distort representation, and fuel political division.

2020

Only 10% of all eligible voters cast ballots in primaries that effectively decided 83% of Congress.

Updated December 2020 | 50 / 50 Primaries
10%
U.S. Voting Age Population | 23.4M of 235M
83%
Seats in the U.S. House | 361 of 435
2022

So far only 2.5% of all eligible voters have cast ballots in primaries that effectively decided 38.4% of Congress.

Updated June 21st, 2022 | 24 / 50 Primaries
2.5%
U.S. VOTING AGE POPULATION | 6.5M of 256M
38.4%
SEATS IN THE U.S. HOUSE | 167 of 435

What’s the Primary Problem with Texas?

Primary Problem
Video Explainer

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What’s the Primary Problem with Virginia?

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UPDATED - MAR. 3, 2022

America Has a Primary Problem

Follow the 2022 primary season in real-time as Unite America tracks how partisan primaries disenfranchise voters, distort representation, and fuel political division.

Updated December 2020 | 50 / 50 Primaries

Only 10% of Americans voted in primaries that effectively decided 83% seats in Congress with 151 of those seats decided without a challenger.

10%
U.S. VOTING AGE POPULATION | 23.4M OF 235M
83%
Seats in the U.S. House | 361 of 435
Updated March 3, 2022 | 1 / 50 Primaries

So far only .5% of eligible Americans have voted in primaries that will effectively decide 8% of Congress.

.5%
U.S. VOTING AGE POPULATION | 1.4M OF 256M
8%
SEATS IN THE U.S. HOUSE | 36 OF 435

Primary Problem
Video Explainer

watch video

What’s the Primary Problem with Texas?

Learn More

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Nov 8
The Primary Problem

In 2020, just 10% of all voters effectively elected 83% of representatives in Congress.

That’s because gerrymandering and partisan self-sorting have created “safe seats” in which the winner of the primary is all but guaranteed to win the general election. The result? A small, unrepresentative group of voters determined the outcome of the majority of the country’s elections. And, it’s only going to get worse in 2022.

This is the primary problem, and it’s THE primary problem facing our politics today.

The Primary Problem Explained

How a small minority of voters decide the vast majority of Congressional Elections, which fuels political polarization and prevents problem solving.

Disenfranchise Voters
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Subtitle
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Fewer voters participate in primaries than in general elections due to both electoral rules and the amount of attention primary races attract.
Additionally, because most congressional districts are so heavily Democratic or Republican leaning, the primary voters of just one party effectively decide the outcomes of most congressional races.

Distort Representation
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Subtitle

Fewer voters participate in primaries than in general elections due to both electoral rules and the amount of attention primary races attract.
Additionally, because most congressional districts are so heavily Democratic or Republican leaning, the primary voters of just one party effectively decide the outcomes of most congressional races.

Distort Representation
Dummy Graphic
Subtitle
color1
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Fewer voters participate in primaries than in general elections due to both electoral rules and the amount of attention primary races attract.
Additionally, because most congressional districts are so heavily Democratic or Republican leaning, the primary voters of just one party effectively decide the outcomes of most congressional races.

States can adopt nonpartisan primaries allowing all candidates to run on a single primary ballot, regardless of party affiliation, and all voters to participate in the same primary.

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The Solution

Nonpartisan Primaries Put Voters First

We can solve the primary problem by replacing taxpayer-funded partisan primaries with a single, nonpartisan primary open to all voters and all candidates. Four states have already done just that.

Candidates are rewarded for representing all of their constituents, every voice is heard, and all votes matter.

The Primary Problem report uses new data and aggregates existing research to identify what's wrong with our primary system and how it can be fixed to put voters first.

The Primary Problem report uses new data and aggregates existing research to identify what's wrong with our primary system and how it can be fixed to put voters first.