Bay Area election offices advise voters with no party to take action
Residents cast ballots at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters on Nov. 8, 2022. File photo.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

Registrar of voters offices across the Bay Area recently issued guidance to “No Party Preference” voters who will have to take action if they want to vote in the presidential primary contest in the March election.

A joint statement by 11 local county registrar’s offices noted that the March 5, 2024 election will be the first in California in which party or No Party Preference ballots will be sent to every registered voter. No Party Preference means a voter didn’t register with a qualified political party like the Democratic or Republican parties.

Santa Clara County has 1,023,473 registered voters, of which 279,711 are registered as No Party Preference. A spokesperson with the county Registrar of Voters said the number of No Party Preference voters has decreased slightly since the announcement earlier this month.

Notices are being sent via mail to people who registered as No Party Preference to let them know of their options to be able to cast a vote in a presidential primary contest.

People can request a crossover ballot for the Democratic, American Independent or Libertarian parties, which allow crossover votes without changing one’s party. To participate in the Republican, Green, or Peace and Freedom parties’ contest, voters will need to register or re-register with that party, according to the registrar’s offices.

To date, the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters has received 8,026 applications from No Party Preference voters who have requested a crossover ballot for either the American Independent, Democratic or Libertarian parties.

If No Party Preference voters don’t take action, they will not have presidential contests on their ballot, which will also include Senate, Congress, statehouse and local races in March.

“While it is important to take action to vote each election, it is particularly important during a Presidential Primary. All voters should take action and check their voter information (address and party) before the election,” the county registrars said.

The joint statement was issued by the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma.

In addition to the joint statement and mailed notices, the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters is informing residents about the needed action through social media and with an episode of the Election Connection podcast.

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