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Morgan Hill
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February 21, 2020

“No Preference’ could mean ‘No Vote’

The nearly 300,000 Santa Clara County voters registered as having “No Party Preference” will soon receive a postcard in the mail outlining what steps they need to take if they want to cast a ballot for a presidential candidate in the March 3, 2020 election.

While all voters can cast ballots in the March 3 Presidential Primary Election, voting for a presidential candidate is dependent on political party registration status.

No Party Preference (NPP) ballots do not include candidates for US president. However, some political parties allow one-time crossover voting for their candidates without a change in registration, while other parties require voters to be registered in that party to participate.

Voters who registered as NPP may vote in the March 3 primary for the American Independent, Democratic or Libertarian parties if they notified the Registrar of Voters of that intent by Jan. 2. Vote-by-mail ballots are set to be mailed on Feb. 3. Voters can still return the postcard after Jan. 2 to receive a replacement crossover ballot, which they can cast instead of their original nonpartisan ballot. The postcard must be received a week before the election in order to receive a new crossover ballot by mail.

NPP voters who missed the Jan. 2 cutoff will be mailed a nonpartisan vote-by-mail ballot  

Alternatively, NPP voters may also obtain an American Independent, Democratic, or Libertarian crossover party ballot at the Registrar of Voters’ Office or at any Vote Center in Santa Clara County.

Early voting at the Registrar of Voters’ Office will begin on Feb. 3. Vote Centers will be open beginning Feb. 22.

The Green, Peace & Freedom and Republican parties do not allow NPP voters to vote for their party’s candidates. Voters who registered as NPP who want to vote for the presidential candidate in these parties must re-register to vote with that party preference. Regular registration ends Feb. 18. After that, voters may change party preference at the Registrar of Voters’ Office or any Vote Center and cast a provisional ballot. However, the process is streamlined if registration occurs before the Feb.18 deadline.

Completing the postcard or voting a crossover ballot does not change a voter’s registered party affiliation. Voters who complete this postcard will continue to be registered as No Party Preference and will have an opportunity to request a crossover ballot in each future presidential primary election.

Registration can be done online at www.sccvote.org. Voters wishing to check their registration status may do so at https://www.sccgov.org/sites/rov/register.

Voters should complete a new registration form if they have moved, changed names or would like to change political party preference. To register to vote in Santa Clara County, a voter must be a US citizen, at least 18 years old on or before Election Day, a Santa Clara County resident and not imprisoned or on parole for a felony.

For more information, contact the Registrar of Voters’ Office at (408) 299-VOTE (8683) or toll-free at (866) 430-VOTE (8683), or visit sccvote.org.

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