How Open & Mixed Primaries Affect Who Can Vote

The 2016 candidates for president, along with their staff members and volunteers, are making one final push to get voters to turn out for Super Tuesday on March 1, when 12 states and American Samoa will hold contests to help determine who our presidential nominees will be. And if you haven't registered with one of the major parties or you want to change your registration, it may not be too late. Learn who can vote on Super Tuesday state-by-state to find out if you're eligible.

It's important to know whether your state holds "open," "closed," or "mixed" primaries or caucuses. Open elections allow an individual to vote for a Republican or Democratic nominee even if she is not registered to that party. This means a registered Republican can vote for a Democratic nominee, a registered Independent can vote in either contest, etc. Voters are only supposed to vote in one of the two contests. Primaries and caucuses are open in Virginia, Vermont, Texas, Tennessee, Minnesota, Georgia, American Samoa, and Alabama, according to Ballotpedia. So if you're registered to vote in these states, you can head to the polls and cast your vote on Tuesday regardless of what party you're officially affiliated with.

Voters in Minnesota have an extra advantage, according to VoteSmart: same-day voter registration. That means if you're not registered to vote, you can actually show up to a polling place and get yourself squared away there. Minnesota is the only Super Tuesday spot conducting same-day registration.

In a closed primary or caucus, a person must be registered with the party for which he is casting a ballot. Ballotpedia reported that Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma will be holding closed contests. So if you haven't registered in the party for which you'd like to vote by your state's deadline in any of these states, you're out of luck on Tuesday.

And then there's Massachusetts, which holds mixed primaries. This state allows people who are not affiliated with either major party to vote in one of the primaries, but voters who are registered with a major party are limited to that party's contest, according to OpenPrimaries. Bustle's Cate Carrejo explained that such a rule could prevent major-party voters from voting for the weakest candidate in the opposition party's primaries in an effort to sabotage a stronger candidate's ability to rack up sufficient delegates for the nomination.

If you're eligible, get out and have your say on Tuesday. If not, check your state's deadlines so you won't miss out on the general election in November.

Believe it or not, both primaries and caucuses can be laugh-out-loud hilarious. Don't believe us? Have a listen to Bustle's "The Chat Room" podcast...