In the US, primaries for the presidential election of the two major parties are usually funded and regulated by the state government. Is this also true for the smaller parties? In that case how is it decided what qualifies as a political party that can request a primary election?

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    This seems like a very broad question as there are 50+ legal entities where this can happen and each one controls it on their own. For all we know there can be 50+ different ways of doing this.
    – Joe W
    Jul 6, 2021 at 18:50
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    @JoeW It seems like it should be possible to give an overview of how it works, maybe using a few specific states as examples.
    – Ryan_L
    Jul 6, 2021 at 20:03
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    @JoeW That rarely (never?) happens. Normally most states have the same stance on things (sometimes split down party lines), and there are occasionally exceptions to the party lines, but there are rarely too many different policies on things. Jul 6, 2021 at 20:09
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    Third parties don't often have primaries as such. They are comparatively small, and their membership is fairly homogenous, so they usually choose candidates through internal decision processes, not public contests. Jul 6, 2021 at 20:41
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    @EkadhSingh They may have similar but you would still need to research each one to determine what rules they have in place. The fact that you would likely have to list each state on its own because of small differences makes this tricky.
    – Joe W
    Jul 6, 2021 at 21:13

1 Answer 1


Third-party primaries are generally funded by the parties themselves, as is the caucus and convention process prior to, or in lieu of, a primary, in the two major political parties.

Typically, however, the third-party nomination process is also more of a caucus and convention process than it is a state run political primary process. Often, third-parties don't even have a public primary process open to all voters affiliated with them as a matter of course.

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