Home>Articles>Frequently Asked Questions about Nonpartisan Races in California

California Constitution. (Photo: www.sos.ca.gov)

Frequently Asked Questions about Nonpartisan Races in California

Can candidates for nonpartisan offices includes party affiliation?

By Chris Micheli, June 1, 2024 2:30 am

Are there nonpartisan races in this state? California’s Constitution, in Article II, Section 6(a), states that all judicial, school, county, and city offices, including the Superintendent of Public Instruction, are to be nonpartisan.

Are all judicial races nonpartisan? Individuals running to be a superior court judge in California, as well as justices facing a retention election every 12 years, run without a party designation, regardless of whether they are actually registered to vote with a particular political party.

Are all local office races nonpartisan? Those individuals running for election to local office, including county board of supervisor, county clerk, county recorder, county sheriff, city council, city mayor, city attorney, etc., all run without political party designation.

Are all educational office races nonpartisan? All those running for local school boards, and even statewide for Superintendent of Public Instruction (which is a constitutional office), do not run as partisans.

Can political parties nominate nonpartisan office candidates? Section 6(b) prohibits a political party or a party central committee from nominating a candidate for nonpartisan office. 

Can candidates for nonpartisan offices includes party affiliation? A candidate for a nonpartisan office cannot include his or her political party preference on the ballot for that nonpartisan office. So, even if the candidate for mayor, for example, wanted to include that they were a registered Democrat or Republican, that designation could not be included on the ballot.

What guidance is provided by the state regarding nonpartisan offices? The Secretary of State’s website provides: “Under the California Constitution, political parties are not entitled to nominate candidates for nonpartisan offices at the primary election, and a candidate nominated for a nonpartisan office at the primary election is not the official nominee of any party for the office in question at the ensuing general election. A candidate for nomination or election to a nonpartisan office may not designate his or her party preference, or lack of party preference, on the primary and general election ballot. The top two vote getters at the primary election advance to the general election for the nonpartisan office.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Spread the news:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *