California Prop 14 (Top Two) and the Presidential Primary

I was recently having coffee with a friend of mine and she asked if she needed to re-register as a Republican for the upcoming 2012 Presidential Primary as there were certain candidates she definitely did not want to see running in the main election in November.

I commented that I didn't know the answer, but would find out.

With a little research the correct answer, as of today, is I couldn't tell her. According to Proposition 14 the primary rules for President are different than other State and Federal offices.

While all other offices are open primaries; all candidates run without Party affiliation, although they may optionally list their party preference, for the office of President the Parties are can select whether their candidates run in an open or closed primary. The Parties have until 135 days before the general election to decide. This puts the date on or about February 13, 2012, about a month from now.

I am sure the Parties will decide this based on whether the Party bosses see how the Primaries and Caucuses in other States are proceeding before deciding to best protect their preferred candidate.

So if you were thinking of changing your registration keep an eye on your calendar.

For more information see:

California Secretary of State FAQ
California Secratary of State New Open Primary PDF


Only two parties, the Democratic Party & American Independent Party are allowing Decline to State voters to vote in their primary. The Libertarian Party, Republican Party, Green Party, and the Peace & Freedom Party are holding closed primaries for the office of President (POTUS).

So if you desire to vote in a closed party primary and you aren't registered, registered as Decline to State, or with a different party you are going to have to register or re-register 15 days before the June 5 primary (May 21, 2012),

California Secretary of State letters from party officials