U.S.

When Are the 2018 Election Primaries? Voting Advocates Battle Apathy Before Pre-Midterm Party Elections

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America saw an extraordinarily poor turnout rate for 2014 Midterm elections—the lowest in 72 years. How to change it? Get young voters invested in the primaries. Getty Images

Amid all the early predictions about America’s midterm elections, there is one to take to the voting booth: the state-by-state turnout of voters could increase because of opposition to President Donald Trump.

America saw an extraordinarily poor turnout rate for 2014 midterm elections—the lowest in 72 years, during which time many voters were fighting in World War II. That election, which was a “low watermark across the country,” said Jen Tolentino, the director of policy for ‎Rock the Vote. The organization works to motivate young people to turn out to the polls and hopes to reignite the demographic’s political momentum in 2018.

“Across all demographics, 2014 was pretty bad in terms of turnout,” Tolentino told Newsweek. “But you can see with the passion we’ve seen over the past year how there’s been a movement led by young people. Trying to transition that passion into actual voting is what we’re working to do this year.”

There are a few key movements working in favor of early voter mobilization, like a multi-state opposition to the Trump administration spanning The Women’s March on Saturday to the “Our Revolution” followers inspired by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. On the other side of the political spectrum, The Republican National Committee has raised record funds to defend GOP seats, firing off a "game on" message to their rivals before the 2018 elections begin. 

Each party has access to grassroot armies that are stocked with young activists who could decide the future of state and federal elections—if they overcome the candidate indifference that can spark apathy during midterms. When entire demographics are not historically represented at the polls, politicians overlook their voting power and their issues aren’t taken into consideration, creating a cycle where millennials are overlooked and underrepresented by their political leaders.

Voter turnout organizations like Rock the Vote see an opportunity to mobilize young voters by sparking their interest in political issues rather than candidates—like focusing on ballot initiatives for legal marijuana expansion. That begins with the 2018 primary elections, which take place within each political party in every race to decide who will represent them before the midterm elections on November 6, 2018.

Related: Marijuana Legalization 2018: Which States Might Consider Cannabis Laws This Year

“We want to break out of that cycle where election turnout is driven by candidates and it’s more driven by something that goes to the core of what do I stand for, what do I want to see in my community?” Tolentino told Newsweek. “If you’re participating in the primaries, that gives you a lot more power to influence who’s going to be on the ballot and who is racing for the finish line in November.”

When Are the 2018 Primaries By State

Alabama: June 5

Alaska: August 21

Arkansas: May 22

Arizona: August 28

California: June 5

Colorado: June 26

Connecticut: August 14

Delaware: September 11

Florida: August 28

Georgia: May 22

Hawaii: August 11

Iowa: June 5

Idaho: May 15

Illinois: March 20

Indiana: May 8

Kansas: August 7

Kentucky: May 22

Louisiana: November 6

Massachusetts: September 4

Maryland: June 26

Maine: June 12

Michigan: August 7

Minnesota: August 14

Missouri: August 7

Mississippi: June 5

Montana: June 5

North Carolina: May 8

North Dakota: June 12

Nebraska: May 15

New Hampshire: September 11

New Jersey: June 5

New Mexico: June 5

Nevada: June 12

New York: September 11

Ohio: May 8

Oklahoma: June 5

Oregon: May 15

Pennsylvania: May 15

Rhode Island: September 12

South Carolina: June 12

South Dakota: June 5

Tennessee: August 2

Texas: March 6

Utah: June 26

Virginia: June 12

Vermont: August 12

Washington: August 7

Wisconsin: August 14

West Virginia: May 8

Wyoming: August 21