Voting for President in Primary? Know the Rules!

If you are planning to vote for president when California holds its primary election June 7, be aware of political party rules that affect which presidential candidates you can vote for. You may need to take action to make sure you can vote for who you want.

Registered with party

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

There are six parties with presidential candidates in California: American Independent, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Peace and Freedom, Republican.

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 March 31, just under 400,000 voters in San Diego County were registered as No Party Preference.

Options for No Party Preference:

  • You can vote for a presidential candidate in the American Independent,  Democratic or Libertarian parties, but you need to request one of those ballots at your designated polling place. Those three parties 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 the Green, Peace and Freedom or Republican parties, you must re-register with that party by May 23. Those three parties allow only registered members to vote for president in their primaries.

May 23 is the deadline to register to vote – or to change party preference by re-registering – in the primary election.

Check your current registration status | Register

Election Day

On Primary Election Day, registered members of a party can vote for a presidential candidate in that party.

No Party Preference ballots will not list presidential candidates. A presidential candidate cannot be written in on a No Party Preference ballot.

A nonpartisan voter cannot request a Green, Peace & Freedom or Republican party ballot.  

A nonpartisan voter can request an American Independent, Democratic or Libertarian party ballot.

If you go to a poll other than your designated polling place, you will need to cast a provisional ballot. If you are a nonpartisan mail ballot voter, did not mail in your ballot and didn’t bring it to the polling place, you’ll need to vote provisionally.  

For more information, call (858) 565-5800 or visit www.sdvote.com.





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