If you are registered to vote with a political party, you will be given a ballot for that party in a Presidential primary election.
If you are unaffiliated with any party (sometimes called “no party preference” or "decline to state"), you will be given a nonpartisan ballot, containing only the names of all candidates for nonpartisan offices and any ballot measures to be voted upon at the primary election.
Or, you may be able to request the ballot of one of the political parties at the polls or on your vote-by-mail ballot request form. Each political party has the option of allowing decline-to-state voters to vote in their Presidential primary.
California Statewide Primary
In June 2012, California started using the Top Two Candidate Open Primary system for statewide offices.
- All candidates for a given state or congressional office will be listed on a single Primary Election ballot.
- Voters can vote for the candidate of their choice for these offices.
- The top two candidates, as determined by the voters, will advance to the General Election in November.
Assessing candidates and ballot measures
Check candidate information on the SmartVoter's website
- Read statements on candidates and ballot measures in your voter handbook
- Attend candidate debates or watch local forums on community television
- Read about issues on the LWVMC website marinlwv.org
- Find out who is endorsing or opposing the candidate or ballot measure
- Critically examine campaign communications;
- Does the material contain personal attacks, ridicule the candidate, contain statements that cannot be verified or employ scare tactics?
- Who sent or published the material? The candidate? An unknown or poorly identified source?
- Are you receiving a large number of mailing pieces or other communications attacking a candidate or ballot measure?
- Are sponsors clearly identified? (As individuals or just as a committee.)
- Be aware of phone surveys with biased questions about a specific candidate or ballot measure.