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California currently has a modified closed primary system.

If you are registered with a political party, your ballot will include your party's candidates for federal and state offices as well as two statewide propositions and probably some races and measures in your county.

This means if you are registered in one party, you cannot vote for candidates running for office in a different political party. If you want to vote for a candiate in another party, you must re-register as a member of that other party.

If you are not registered with a political party ("decline to state" or "unaffiliated"), you may participate in a party’s primary election if that party allows unaffiliated voters to do so. For this election, an unaffiliated voter may request and vote a ballot for these parties:

  • American Independent (all candidates except those for county central committees)
  • Democratic (all candidates except those for county central committees), or
  • Republican (all candidates except those for county central committee).

Unaffiliated voters who go to the polls must ask for one of the three parties' ballots if they do not want a ballot for nonpartisan offices and measures only.  Poll workers are not obligated to inform unaffiliated voters that they have a choice of ballot.

To see the various ballot choices, use our "Find My Ballot" function and select the possible "Decline to State" options.

Decide which ballot you want to vote - a nonpartisan or a party ballot.  You may need to change your voter registration if you want a particular party's ballot.  Fill out a voter registration card (available at city halls, post offices, libraries, and online) and mark the political party of your choice.  The registration card must be delivered to your county's Elections Office or be postmarked by the May 22, 2006 deadline.

Unaffiliated voters requesting an absentee ballot for the June election should request a party's ballot if they do not want just the nonpartisan ballot.


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