Presidential Primary Elections

What is a Presidential Primary Election?

The Presidential Primary Election is the election in which individual qualified political parties put forth their group of nominees to the voters registered within their party. This is why you have the opportunity to choose a political party when you register to vote. Voters then vote for which nominee within their political party they would like to move on to the Presidential General Election.

The Presidential Primary DOES NOT determine which candidate will become the president; it simply determines which small group of candidates will go to the Presidential General Election. This process is similar to a race in which there would be a semi-final before the final. The Presidential Primary is similar to a semi-final in that it is meant to narrow down which candidates will make it to the Presidential General Election (the final). The Presidential General Election is the election that determines who will become the next United States President.

Presidential Primary Elections are party specific. This means that you will receive presidential candidates for the qualified political party that you are registered with on your ballot. You will not receive presidential candidates from other qualified political parties on your ballot. This is part of the narrowing-down process. It allows voters within their individual qualified party to choose which candidate they would like to see run for president in the Presidential General Election.

*Note: Presidential General Elections are NOT party specific. In the Presidential General Election any voter will be able to vote for any candidate, regardless of registered political party preference.

What if I am Not Registered with a Qualified Political Party?

If you chose to register as a "No Party-Preference Voter" or chose to register as an "Other-Write In", you will have the opportunity to receive a party specific ballot in a process called Cross-Over Voting. Prior to every Primary Election, every elections office will mail "No Party-Preference" and "Other-Write In" voters a Party Preference Cross-Over Card. This card contains qualified political parties that have chosen to allow voters who are not affiliated with a qualified political party to receive a one-time ballot of their choice. This card DOES NOT change your voter registration party preference. It is simply a request to receive a party specific ballot for the current Presidential Primary.

If you are unsure of your current political party registration affiliation, click here >> Check my Voter Registration Status or contact the Plumas County Elections office.

The Qualified Political Party I Would Like to Request a Ballot with is Not on the Party Preference Cross-Over Card.

Not all qualified political parties allow Cross-Over Voting. Prior to every Presidential Primary, the California Secretary of State contacts each qualified party and asks if they would like to participate in Cross-Over Voting. The parties that say yes, will be listed on the Party Preference Cross-Over Card.

If a party has said no, they will not be listed on the Party Preference Cross-Over Card. 

If you would like to receive a ballot for a qualified party that is not listed on the Party Preference Cross-Over Card, you will need to re-register to vote with that political party.

*Note: You DO NOT have to choose a party on the Party Preference Cross-Over Card or re-register with another political party. You may choose not to receive a ballot with party specific candidates. If you decide not to participate in Cross-Over voting, you will receive a ballot with local and state candidates and measures, but it will not have any presidential candidates.

*For information as to why a party has chosen not to allow Cross-Over Voting, please contact that party. The Plumas County Elections Division is not involved with any political party, or in the decisions made by any political entities.

Resources:

March 5, 2024 Presidential Primary

No Party Preference Information

Party Cross-Over History

No Party Preference Cross-Over Ballot Notice and Application