Voting for President Next Year? Be Sure You Can!

California’s presidential primary election is one year away. But it’s not too early to give you a heads up – political parties decide who is able to vote for their presidential candidates. You may need to change your voter registration party status with the Registrar of Voters to vote for who you want on March 3, 2020.

Registered with party

If you are registered with a political party, your ballot will list that party’s presidential candidates. You can only vote for that party’s presidential candidates.

No Party Preference (nonpartisan) 

If you are registered No Party Preference, also known as nonpartisan, no presidential candidates will be listed on your ballot. As of February 28, just over 580,000 voters in San Diego County were registered as No Party Preference.

No Party Preference voters who want to vote for a presidential candidate do have options:

  • You can vote for a presidential candidate from only one of the political parties that allows nonpartisan voters to crossover to that party’s ballot. Political parties have until October 20 to decide whether to allow nonpartisan voters to take part in their presidential primaries.
  • If you are registered as No Party Preference but you want to vote for a presidential candidate in one of the parties that does not allow nonpartisan voters to cross over, you must re-register with that party. For example, in 2016’s presidential primary, the Green, Peace and Freedom, and Republican parties allowed only registered members to vote for presidential candidates in their primaries.

Not sure how you’re registered or if you’re still registered to vote? Check your current registration status or register. For more information, call (858) 565-5800.

Tracy DeFore is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact