Santa Cruz County Elections

Registering and Voting in California’s
March 2, 2004 Presidential Primary


For the March 2, 2004 election, the political party you have selected on your voter’s registration card will determine the ballot you receive.

All voters will receive a ballot card containing the nonpartisan contests on the ballot. The nonpartisan contests on the ballot for March 2, 2004 include: the 1st, 2nd and 5th Supervisorial Districts, the 4 state propositions and the 4 local measures. The supervisorial contests and local measures will appear on your ballot if you reside in the area affected by the contest.

However, if you are registered with one of the seven qualified political parties:

  • American Independent

  • Democratic

  • Green

  • Libertarian

  • Natural Law

  • Peace and Freedom

  • Republican

Your ballot will also contain those candidates affiliated with that political party who are running for a partisan contest on the ballot. The partisan contests on the March 2, 2004 ballot include: President, U.S. Senate, State Senate, State Assembly, and central committee or county council.

Therefore, if you are registered Democratic, you will receive a ballot containing only the names of Democratic candidates. If you are registered Republican, you will receive a ballot containing only the names of Republican candidates. And, the same holds true for the other parties.

Some parties have one or no candidates running for partisan contests while others have one or more. In all cases, you are allowed to vote for only one candidate in each partisan contest whose name is on the ballot, or you may write-in a person’s name on the ballot. Write-in votes are only tallied if the person has filed the appropriate papers with an elections official to be a qualified write-in candidate.

How to change your party affiliation


Better yet, complete and return the card by FEBRUARY 2 in order to receive a Sample Ballot & Voter’s Information Pamphlet as well as the State Pamphlet providing you with important voting information.

In fact, we encourage voters who want to update their voter’s registration to do so much earlier than February 2, especially if you are a voter who automatically receives a ballot in the mail. If you receive a ballot in the mail that has the incorrect address or party affiliation, call the Elections Department to determine how to proceed.

What if you are not registered with one of the seven qualified political parties?

California now operates under a modified closed primary. Voters registered to vote as indicated below are collectively called "nonpartisan" or "unaffiliated" voters:

  • Decline to State

  • Independent

  • Nonpartisan

  • Or with any political party that is not one of the seven qualified parties, such as the Conscious African American Party, the Parliament Party, the Pot Party, the Reform Party of California or the United Conscious Builders of the Dream Party – all of whom are attempting to qualify for the March 2006 Primary Election.

Nonpartisan/unaffiliated voters will automatically receive a ballot card containing only the nonpartisan contests on the ballot.

OR…. Nonpartisan/Unaffiliated voters may choose a party’s ballot.

California’s modified closed primary allows political parties to choose if they would like to offer their ballot to the nonpartisan/unaffiliated voters. Three of the seven qualified political parties have adopted this rule with some variations.

If you are not registered with one of the seven qualified political parties, you may select one of the following political party’s ballot:

  • American Independent Party – featuring American Independent Party candidates who are running for all offices

  • Democratic Party – featuring Democratic Party candidates who are running for all offices except county council

  • Republican Party – featuring Republican Party candidates who are running for all offices except President.

How do nonpartisan/unaffiliated voters select a party ballot

If you are voting by mail, you must make your selection on your application for your ballot.

If you are a permanent absentee voter or a voter who resides in a mail ballot precinct, the Elections Department mailed you a postcard asking you if you would like to select a party’s ballot. If you made a selection, that ballot will be mailed to you.

If you plan to vote at the polls, you must ask the election worker for the ballot of your choice.

Voters who are registered with one of the seven qualified political parties DO NOT have the option to select another party’s ballot. Only those who are not registered with a political party have this option.

What to do if you get the wrong ballot

If you receive a ballot in the mail that you believe is not the one you selected, you may obtain a second ballot by calling the Elections Department at 831-454-2060, or toll-free 866-282-5900, or by sending an e-mail to

If you are voting at the polls and you receive a ballot that is different than the one you requested, see the election worker to request a second ballot.

If you are listed as registered with a political party, you will be given the ballot for that party. If you insist on voting a different party’s ballot, you will be asked to vote provisionally. The same holds true for nonpartisan/unaffiliated voters who insist on voting a party’s ballot that has not authorized cross-over voters.

If your voter’s registration records indicate that you are registered with a political party and you vote a ballot for a different political party, you votes for the partisan contests cannot be counted. Only your votes for the nonpartisan contests can be counted. A voter may seek a court order to require his or her ballot to be counted, but must do so before the official canvass period ends.

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