Which states do not require that you register with a party before voting?

Which states do not require that you register with a party before voting?

I look forward to your feedback.

I am unaware of ANY state that requires a party registration to allow a citizen to vote. I’m fairly certain such would be unconstitutional.

States may or may not require party registration before voting in a party’s primary, yes. But to vote in a general election? No, that’s not done.

erm its called “independent” voting

There are no states that require you register with a party to vote in the general election.

Primary elections are for parties to establish their candidates. The rules for primary elections vary state to state.

In MA ‘Independent’ is a party which causes confusion. I’m registered ‘unaffiliated’. Those registered with a party must vote on their parties ballet. Those not registered with a party can choose any parties ballet to vote on.

Washington State doesn’t ask for or keep a register of what party its citizens may choose to associate with. It’s not considered the business of the government to track its citizens in such a manner.

Both national parties periodically attempt to coerce the state to do so, but thus far have been unsuccessful.

In Alabama I have to be registered with the County (and through it, the State) to vote, and that’s all; no party affiliation is implied.

In a primary election I have to choose a party’s ballot, and may only vote on that party’s primary ballot. If there’s a primary runoff the precinct already knows whose primary I voted in, and that party’s runoff ballot is the only one I’m going to be offered. This practice pretty much eliminates questions about “crossover voting”, such as was alleged in the 1986 gubernatorial runoff election.

In a general election (such as today) I get the general election ballot, and can vote for whichever party/parties I choose.

Vote for Anna Pavlova!!!

In Virginia during the primaries you can pick a Republican or Democrat ballot, so that definitely funnels you into one party or the other. I think statisticians try to use the fact that you voted in a Republican or Democrat primary to determine what party you’re in, when they don’t know I sometimes just pick a ballot to vote *against *someone.


And to be clear, requesting a party’s ballot even in a primary doesn’t mean you’re a** MEMBER **of that party.

Although it will probably put you on that party’s mailing list.

In Texas, you just register, you don’t have to declare a party. However, when you vote in a primary, you are considered “affiliated” with that party until the end of the election cycle.

This has led to some interesting snafus. In the county where I used to be assistant county attorney, two women were running for the vacant position of County Clerk. As the election approached, it was discovered that the woman running as a Republican had voted in the Democratic primary and was thus affiliated with the Democratic party. This made her ineligible to appear on a ballot as a Republican candidate. The ballots, however, had already been printed. I researched the issue and concluded that, since we were past the date when the ballots could be reprinted, and she was not eligible to be on the ballot, any votes cast for her were void, and if she received the most votes, the office would remain vacant, and the commissioners’ court could appoint whoever they wished to fill the vacant office.

As it turned out, that’s exactly what happened, and the commissioners appointed the lady who had gotten the most votes; there would likely have been an uproar if they had appointed anyone else.

Not everywhere. In North Carolina, “Independent” is just another party. Here, those of us so inclined register “Unaffiliated.”

For a while one had to choose a primary ballot — Democrat, Republican or Unaffiliated; the one chosen listed only that party’s candidates for partisan offices, or (in the case of Unaffiliated) no partisan races. Then the SoW went to a “top two” primary, where the first and second place finishers went to the general regardless of party.

In addition, election materials describe candidates as “Identifies with the {insert name here} party” rather than “{Insert name here} candidate.” This further detaches the process from party control, though they obviously choose whom they will support.

As Some Call Me… Tim noted, both major parties hate the system and periodically seek to overturn it. The state once had a completely open primary (instituted by initiative in the 1930s), and for decades the parties tolerated it because the SoW is a relative backwater. Then California tried the same thing, and the backlash caught us as well. “Top two” seems a workable compromise.

In New Jersey you can only vote in the primary of the party you are registered to. You have to make an effort and meet the deadline to change your affiliation.

I have almost never voted in a primary. Statewide elections rarely have any competition within the party and I don’t remember there being a presidential primary that mattered by the time it was our turn.

I don’t think Michigan requires it at all. I know for primaries, you may only vote one party’s ballot, but that doesn’t “stick” with you at all.

That Independent Party several people above mentioned is here in Oregon too. They deliberately chose the name to catch voters who weren’t paying attention. That is, people who wanted to register as unaffiliated and thought that independent was the same thing. Through this strategem they managed to get enough registered voters to qualify for their own primary. But it was just barely enough, just over whatever percentage of voters required (5% IIRC). Some people may not be happy with this and will change their registration to unaffiliated, so that status may not last. Depends on whether they can keep catching new voters to replace the ones who change.

Here’s a map of primary types. Open, closed, etc.

I’m not sure the states have rules for this so much as the parties. I recall that one year in California the Democrats had an open primary and the Republicans closed. The parties will generally choose this if they’re worried about people spoiling the election. There is nothing in the Constitution that states how parties shall choose a candidate, hence superdelegates in one party and not the other.

As stated, you might get a more restrictive primary ballot if not registered with a party, but the General Election ballot is identical for everyone in the same municipality.

There are several right wing parties in some states that go by different names at different times: American Independent Party, Independent American Party, Constitution Party, etc. In some occasions they were the same party and shared candidates (the IAP seems the least loony). A good share of their support is from people thinking they’re registering as non-partisan.

Minnesota has an open Primary, and you don’t even choose which party ballot to get – both major parties are in separate columns on the same ballot, and you just choose which columen to vote in. (If you vote across-columns, the ballot is spoiled and the tally machine kicks it back out at you & you can do it over.) So not even the election workers know which party primary you voted in.

This is how it works in Ohio too. (In theory, you can be made to swear a loyalty oath to change parties before your previous affiliation expires, but the current Secretary of State doesn’t require it.)