This page is intended to educate the public not just about California's political parties, but about what makes a political party.
In the state of California, political parties must be registered by the Secretary of State to put candidates on state ballots. In order to become officially registered, those wishing to form a party must first hold a caucus to elect temporary officers and then file a formal notice with the Secretary of State. One of two methods may be used for the party to be qualified by the state government.
Maintaining Qualification Status
Once qualified, a political party maintains its qualified status by:
Retaining registrants representing at least 1/15 of 1% (.00067%) of the total state registration and having one of its statewide candidates receive at least 2% of the entire vote of the state for that office at the preceding gubernatorial election or retaining statewide registration equaling at least 1% of the total votes cast at the preceding gubernatorial election
If the Political Body Fails to Qualify as a Political Party
If by the 135th day before any primary election, a political body has not qualified as a political party, the political body shall be considered to have abandoned its attempt to qualify as a political party and shall be ineligible to participate in the following primary.
If you do not want to join a political party, mark that box on your voter registration form. This is called "no party preference." Know that if you do, you may have limited choices for party candidates in Presidential primary elections.
You can change your political party registration at any time. Just fill out a new voter registration form and check a different party box. The deadline to change your party is 15 days before the election. If you are not registered with a political party and want to vote for a Presidential candidate from a party that lets you vote with their ballot, you must ask for that ballot when you go to your polling place on election day. If you plan to vote by mail, you must write on the application the name of the political party whose ballot you want to use. If you want to be able to vote for a Presidential candidate from a political party that does not let you vote with their ballot, you need to fill out a new registration form and choose to join that party. Send it to your County Elections office by the registration deadline 15 days before the election. Or you may register online at California Secretary of State.
The League does not support or oppose candidates or political parties.
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National Site No California and LA County Site available.
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