(FOX 2) - For most Michigan voters, there are two key events to keep track of: the Primary election and the general election.
Where the general election pits each party's nominated candidate against one another for an elected office, the primary is often used as a means to narrow down a party's candidates.
While general elections feature starker differences in policy recommendations and positioning among candidates, there's often much less separation between individuals running for office in primary races. For Democrats and Republicans, the two parties that typically dominate elections in America, it's the more nuanced differences that voters will have to look at when deciding who they vote for in the primary race.
Primary races take several forms, as can the outcomes of the elections. In Michigan, the state employs an Open Primary system for conducting nominating contests for state and congressional seats.
Under the rules of Michigan's primary election, voters do not have to be a member of a political party to vote in the primary held by that party. Voters may also declare an affiliation with a party at the polls, even if they may have previously been a member of a different party.
There is a notable restriction to voting in a Michigan primary election however: there's no split ticket voting.
When casting a vote in the August Primary, Michigan voters may only vote in one party column. If you decide to vote in the Democratic primary, you cannot cast a vote in the Republican primary - and vice-versa. If a vote is cast in both party's columns, the ballot will be invalidated.
This is specific to Michigan's primary race and is not used in the general election.