Official Voter Information Guide
Important Information About This Presidential
Primary Election and Voters With No Political Party Preference
California law requires that the term "party preference" now be used in place of the term "party affiliation." On the voter registration form, a voter may choose whether or not to indicate a preference for a political party. A voter with no party preference (NPP) is anyone who chose to not indicate a political party preference when he or she registered to vote. Voters who were previously known as decline-to-state voters (because they did not have a party affiliation) are now known as having no party preference.
Many candidate contests on your June 5 ballot are governed by a new open primary law that took effect this year. For more information about the Top Two Candidates Open Primary Act, see page 4 of this guide.
The state's open primary law does not apply to candidates running for U.S. President, county central committee, or local office. Qualified political parties in California may hold presidential primaries in one of two ways:
- Closed presidential primary, in which only voters indicating a preference for the party may vote for that party's presidential nominee.
- Modified-closed primary, in which the party also allows voters who did not state a party preference to vote for that party's presidential nominee.
If a qualified political party chooses to hold a modified-closed presidential primary, the party must notify the California Secretary of State no later than the 135th day before Election Day. The following political parties are allowing NPP voters to request and vote their party's June 5 presidential primary ballot:
- American Independent Party
- Democratic Party
If you indicated a political party preference when you registered to vote, you may only vote for a presidential candidate in the presidential primary election of that party.
If you did not indicate a political party preference when you registered to vote, some of the political parties will allow you to vote for their presidential candidates anyway. NPP voters can request a ballot of any political party that has notified the Secretary of State that it will permit NPP voters to help nominate their presidential candidate. You may NOT request more than one party's presidential ballot.
If you do not request a specific ballot, you will be given an NPP ballot containing only ballot measures and the names of candidates for open primary offices.
If You Vote by Mail
Each county elections office is required to mail all NPP voters who are registered as permanent vote-by-mail voters a notice and application regarding voting in the primary election. The notice shall inform the voter that he or she may request a vote-by-mail ballot for a particular political party for the presidential primary if that party authorized NPP voters to vote in their primary. If you are a vote-by-mail voter and you would like to participate in one of the participating parties' presidential primary, you must request the party's ballot prior to being issued a vote-by-mail ballot. If you have already been issued an NPP ballot but would like to request a ballot from one of the participating parties, you must contact your county elections office.