Proposition 3 | Text of Proposed Law | Proposition 3 | Argument in Favor |
Partisan Presidential Primary Elections.
Legislative Initiative Amendment.
Analysis by the Legislative Analyst

In general, California has three types of elections: primary, general, and special. Primary elections are held both for partisan offices, where candidates are identified on the ballot with a political party, and nonpartisan offices, where candidates are not identified with a political party. When registering to vote or transferring voter registration, each voter is authorized to affiliate with a political party, or may decline to state a political affiliation.

Proposition 198, adopted by the voters at the March 1996 election, allows all voters in primary elections, including those not affiliated with a political party, to vote for any candidate for a specific office regardless of the candidate's political party affiliation. Thus, a voter at a primary election is allowed to vote for candidates across party lines. The candidate of each political party who receives the most votes for a state elective office becomes the nominee of that party at the next general election.

Accordingly, county elections officials prepare a ballot for all voters, and candidates for office are listed randomly on the ballot and are not separated by political party affiliation.

These provisions do not apply to elections of political party committee members. In this case, a voter is restricted to voting for candidates of his or her own political party. However, in a presidential primary, a voter is allowed to cross party lines in voting for delegates to a party's presidential nominating convention. Those delegates, along with delegates from other states, select the nominees of their respective political party for President and Vice President of the United States at a party nominating convention.


Under this measure, a voter could not cross party lines when voting for delegates to a political party's presidential nominating convention. A voter would only be permitted to vote for delegates to a presidential nominating convention of a political party with which the voter is affiliated.

Accordingly, county elections officials would be required by this measure to prepare additional and separate partisan presidential primary ballots for the selection of delegates to presidential nominating conventions for the sole use of persons registered with that political party.

Fiscal Effect

This measure would result in minor costs to state government to coordinate efforts by county election officials to comply with the new ballot preparation provisions. The measure also would result in minor costs to county governments statewide for preparing and printing additional ballots and for modifying current vote-counting procedures to accommodate the required separate partisan ballots.

Proposition 3 | Text of Proposed Law | Proposition 3 | Argument in Favor |