California voters who live under a rock may be surprised to discover the state will hold its Presidential Primary Election March 3 instead of June.
California joins 13 other states holding presidential primaries on Super Tuesday, following the South Carolina primary held a few days before. The Golden State joins Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia for the March 3 Presidential Primary.
In 2017 California lawmakers moved the primary from June to March, and all the state’s primary elections will now be held the first Tuesday in March.
California’s Presidential Primary is also an open primary — meaning some of the 6.2 million voters who are not affiliated with a political party may vote for some candidates. The political parties themselves make the decision to allow voters to obtain their party’s ballot, and three will do so— the Democratic Party, the Libertarian Party and the American Independent Party. The Republican Party, the Green Party and the Peace and Freedom Party will not allow non-affiliated voters to cast ballots for their candidates.
The non-affiliated voters can request a special ballot from their county clerk or election site. Voters who are registered as having no party preference make up the second largest group of voters in the state behind Democrats.
California also uses the top-two primary system in which the top two primary election candidates advance to the general election — even if they are from the same political party as voters are able to cast a ballot for a candidate regardless of his or her political party. This top-two primary system does not apply to candidates running for president.
March 3, 2020 Presidential Primary Election deadlines
Dec. 17 — Deadline set by the registrar of voters for submitting rebuttals to arguments in favor of or against a measure and impartial analyses.
Jan. 6 through Feb. 18 — Opening and closing of write-in candidacy; time for write-in candidates to obtain and file write-in nomination documents with the office of the registrar of voters.
Feb. 3 — First day of mailing Vote-by-Mail ballots.
Feb. 18 — Last day to register to vote for the March 3 election.
Feb. 25 — Last day to request a Vote-by-Mail ballot (5 p.m. deadline).
March 3 — Election Day (vote centers are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
April 2 — Registrar of voters to certify election results by April 2.
Do your part — register to vote, cast your ballot
The Lassen County Times does not endorse candidates or ballot measures, but we do encourage residents to participate in the electoral process.
Don’t forget, our Founding Fathers risked everything — and pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes and the sacred honor — when they signed the Declaration of Independence to create the nation and give all of us the right to vote. Voting gives you the opportunity to select the best person for the job, creating change or maintaining the status quo. We should not take that gift for granted and ignore our civic obligation to cast a ballot.
Do your part. Vote.