701 OCEAN ST., ROOM 210
831-454-2060 / FAX: 831-454-2445
Toll Free 1-866-282-5900

January 30, 2004
Contact: Gail L. Pellerin, Elections Manager

Voters Urged to Know Registration and

Voting Requirements for Primary

To vote in California’s March 2, 2004 Presidential Primary Election, persons must be registered to vote no later than February 17, 2004. And, since it is a primary election, the political party voters select will determine the ballot they receive.

Election officials want to make sure voters are aware of the way the Primary will be conducted in March. The last Presidential Primary was conducted under the "Blanket" Primary rules where all candidates for all parties appeared on one ballot. However, the courts determined this voting method was unconstitutional, so California now operates under a "Closed" Primary with some modifications.

In March, all voters will receive one ballot card containing all the nonpartisan contests, such as county supervisor, any local measure and the four state propositions. However, voters who are registered with one of the seven qualified political parties will also receive a ballot containing the names of only those candidates running for that party’s nomination to the partisan offices. The top vote-getter for each party will appear on the November General Election ballot.

Therefore, in March, voters registered with the Democratic Party will receive a partisan ballot containing only the names of Democratic candidates. Voters registered with the Republican Party will receive a partisan ballot containing only the names of Republican candidates. And, the same holds true for the other parties.

The exception to this rule is for the nonpartisan or unaffiliated voter. Voters who register to vote as "Decline to State," "Nonpartisan," "Independent," or with a political party that is not qualified, are eligible to select a party’s ballot if that party has adopted rules allowing for the cross-over voter.

Three of California’s seven qualified political parties are offering nonpartisan/unaffiliated voters the opportunity to vote their party’s ballot for the March 2, 2004 Primary Election. The three parties are:

Nonpartisan voters who do not select a party’s ballot will receive the one nonpartisan ballot card only.

To be eligible to register and vote, a person must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old on or before March 2, and not be in prison or on parole for a felony conviction.

In addition to re-registering to change party affiliation, voters should also re-register if they do not remember voting within the last five years, have moved since last voting, or have changed their name.

Persons interested in re-registering or registering for the first time in Santa Cruz County may obtain voter registration cards at the County Elections Department located at 701 Ocean St., Room 210; local libraries; post offices; city halls; the Department of Motor Vehicles; social service agencies; military recruitment offices; and several local businesses during regular office hours. Or voters may request a card online at

Voters who are registered by February 2 will be mailed a Sample Ballot and Voter’s Information Pamphlet. Voters who register after February 2, but before the final deadline of February 17 will not be mailed election materials. Instead, these late registrants will be mailed a postcard with their polling place location.


For more information, please call the Santa Cruz County Elections Department at 831-454-2060, visit our office at 701 Ocean St., Room 210 in Santa Cruz, or check out our website at