How Do I Vote in California's Presidential Primary Election as a 'No Party Preference' Voter?

By Carly Severn,
January 30, 2024


The 2024 general election in November will decide who will be the President of the United States for the next four years. But way before that, California voters have another big election on March 5: Our state’s presidential primary. 

‘The good news is that nobody has to vote with the ballot that they get in the mail if they don’t want to.’ Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation

Among other things, the March primary election allows voters to choose the candidate from their preferred political party that they ultimately want to run for president in November. But if you’re registered as a “no party preference” voter (sometimes referred to as an “independent”), you’ll need to take action to be able to vote in these races. Otherwise, the ballot you’ll receive starting in early February won’t have any presidential candidates on it.

Another twist: The type of action you have to take depends on what party’s candidate you want to vote for in March. Keep reading for everything you need to know about voting in California’s presidential primaries as a no party preference (NPP) voter.

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I can’t remember whether I’m registered as no party preference (NPP). How do I check?

You can visit the state’s website,, and hit “Check your registration status.” You can also call the Voter Hotline at 800-345-VOTE (8683) for your voter status.

You certainly won’t be the only California voter figuring this out, said Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation. “It’s going to be challenging for voters and election officials alike because it’s been a while since people voted,” she noted.

“They may have forgotten how they registered to vote, what party they registered to vote with,” Alexander said. “And that will determine their voting choices for president.”

21.95% of voters are registered as NPP in California — a drop from 25.90% in 2020. At 27.11%, Santa Clara County actually holds the greatest percentage of NPP voters in the entire state.

(One small thing to note: Even though being a no party preference Voter is sometimes known as being an independent voter, that’s not the same thing as being a member of the American Independent Party. (Full Story)