Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Ben Allen
California State Senator 

Why Presidential Candidates aren't on your Sample Ballot

State Senator clarifies ballot confusion


I have heard from many voters recently who are confused about why their sample ballot or vote by mail (VBM) ballot for the June 7 Presidential Primary Election does not list the presidential candidates. I am writing to offer clarification on this matter so that everyone who wants to cast a vote for president has the opportunity to do so.

Voters who registered to vote without stating a political party preference are called "no party preference" or "NPP" voters. NPP voters will automatically receive a non-partisan ballot, which will have no presidential candidates listed.

Each political party has the option of allowing NPP voters to vote in their presidential primary election. This year, the American Independent, Democratic, and Libertarian parties chose to do so. If you are an NPP voter who wishes to vote for a presidential candidate seeking the nomination of one of these parties, here are two ways you can do so:

If NPP Voters have already received a non-partisan ballot in the mail, they have the option of going to their polling place on Election Day where they can surrender that ballot and request a ballot for one of the three participating political parties.

If NPP voters still want to vote one of those party ballots by mail (even if they have already received their non-partisan ballot in the mail) they must complete a new vote-by-mail application indicating which of the three political party ballots they want, and mail or return it in person to their county elections office. These vote-by-mail ballot applications must arrive by May 31.

The Republican, Green, and Peace and Freedom parties have chosen not to allow NPP voters to request their party's presidential ballot or participate in their presidential primary election.

If an NPP voter wants to vote for a presidential candidate seeking the nomination of the Republican, Green, or Peace and Freedom party, the NPP voter must re-register to vote with one of those parties by May 23, 2016. Voters can register or re-register online here:

A vote by mail ballot application can be found here:

If you have questions, you may call the toll-free voter information line for Los Angeles County, at 1-800-815-2666, or visit them online at


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