The Ballot Bulletin

Volume 2, December 2023

From the Desk of the Registrar of Voters

Happy December! Our office is busy preparing for the March 5, 2024 Presidential Primary Election. With every election, we must plan not only for voters, but for any contingency that might put a halt to the elections process. 

Planning for the unexpected is as important to the integrity of an election as routine tasks like voter registration list maintenance, voting machine testing, and chain of custody. We have to have contingency plans around the cybersecurity and physical security of the elections process, shore up plans for natural disasters, and try to manage a whole host of other “what ifs.”

In recent news, suspicious letters laced with fentanyl were sent to elections offices in Georgia, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and California. Fortunately, our county was not targeted and letters intended for Los Angeles and Sacramento elections offices were intercepted by the US Postal Service before reaching those mailrooms. But in some other states, their elections processes were significantly interrupted and staff were put in harm’s way. 

Incidents like this are a good example of why elections offices across the country are participating in tabletop exercises. Our elections staff have participated in several tabletop exercises that help us think through “what ifs” like suspicious letters containing toxic substances. I’m truly thankful for all our partners who are helping us update our contingency plans. 

We’re going to have a smooth election because we’ll be more prepared than ever before. And part of our preparation includes getting voters ready for the next election! We have a presidential primary coming up, and sometimes the rules can be a little weird. Read all about one major component of presidential primaries: crossover voting.

Natalie Adona

Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters

Election News: Crossover Voting

Every 4 years, Americans cast their vote for President. The nominees for President and Vice-President are chosen by political parties. Political parties have varied state rules on how to choose their nominees; for example, whether to hold a primary or a caucus, how to apportion votes (winner take all versus proportional), etc. They can be complex events, and so it is important for voters to know what to do in order to participate in a presidential primary election.

California conducts modified closed presidential primaries. That means that, in general, voters can participate in the primary on the condition that the voter is registered with the party for whom they support as their nominee. In other words, Republicans vote in the Republican Primary, Democrats vote in the Democratic Primary, etc. If you want to vote in the primary, you must declare a party preference.

There are currently 6 certified political parties in California that will have a presidential primary:

  • American Independent Party
  • Democratic Party
  • Green Party
  • Libertarian Party
  • Peace & Freedom Party
  • Republican Party

However, some--but not all--political parties choose to allow No Party Preference (NPP) voters to participate in their primary without having to re-register. That is what's referred to as a "crossover." If you are not registered with one of the certified political parties, that means that the state election laws consider you to be a NPP voter and you will be given the option to crossover. Think of it as being an invited guest to a holiday party--accepting an invitation doesn't mean that you're living at the host's house.

Every presidential election cycle, the political parties will notify the Secretary of State as to whether they will allow crossover voting. Counties will then notify voters as to which parties allow crossovers as the presidential primary election draws near.

If you are a NPP voter, you have 3 choices for how to participate in the March 5, 2024 Presidential Primary Election:

  1. Request a crossover. The American Independent Party, Democratic Party, and Libertarian Party will allow NPP voters to request a crossover without the need to re-register to vote.
  2. Re-register. Do this if you are a NPP or have another party affiliation and want to participate in the Green Party, Peace & Freedom Party, or Republican Party's primary.
  3. Do nothing. You will be provided a ballot with no presidential candidates on it, but every other contest will be available to you to vote on.

No matter how you decide to participate in the presidential primary, everyone will be able to vote for President and Vice-President in the November General Election.

Did You Know?

For a short period of time, California had an open (“blanket”) primary. An open primary system allows all voters to cast a ballot for presidential nominees, regardless of their stated party affiliation. The open primary law was authorized in March 1996 via the passage of Proposition 198.

However, four years later the United States Supreme Court struck down California’s blanket primary law. 

In California Democratic Party v. Jones, 530 US 567 (2000), a case brought against the California Secretary of State by four political parties, the Court held that Proposition 198 violated the First Amendment right to free association. Justice Scalia wrote, “the First Amendment protects “the freedom to join together in furtherance of common political beliefs”...which “necessarily presupposes the freedom to identify the people who constitute the association, and to limit the association to those people only.”” Jones at 574. 

This freedom to choose leaders of an association like a political party is one of the reasons why California’s elections officials must get formal notice of which parties will invite No Party Preference voters to “crossover,” and why NPP ballots have no presidential candidates on them.


“Partisan office” or “party-nominated office” means any of the following offices:

(a) President of the United States, Vice President of the United States, and the delegates therefor.

(b) Elected member of a party committee.

In a nutshell: that means that members of that party select these nominees in primary elections.

Want to see it for yourself? Check out Elections Code § 337!

In the Community

Residency Confirmation Cards (yellow postcard sent in November) and Crossover Cards (sent in December and shown in orange on the right) have been mailed to voters! Each of these postcards is helpful to our office, and must be sent ahead of the upcoming primary.

Residency Confirmation Cards must be sent to voters ahead of every primary election. They’re helpful in keeping our voter rolls up to date. In a nutshell: we want you to return the postcard if it bears the name of someone who does NOT live at your address. If the card has your name on it, then you don’t have to do anything.

Crossover Cards are a notice to No Party Preference voters that they have options ahead of a presidential primary. We want to know which ballot to send to you in the mail! If you get one of these cards, you can fill in your crossover preference and return it to our office or you can download and fill in a paper application and get it back to us. And while we will process your crossover request at a voting location, we always like to know what your preference is well in advance so you can vote how you want to.

Have questions? Let us know! Call us at 530-265-1298, stop by our office at 950 Maidu Avenue #210 in Nevada City, or email us at

Notice of Random Alphabet Draw

A public meeting will be held on December 14, 2023 at 10:00 am for a randomized alphabet drawing for listing of state and assembly candidates on Nevada County ballot.

Read More

Crossover Cards Are In The Mail

If you are a No Party Preference voter, then you have some options in the upcoming Presidential Primary Election

Read More

Notice of Election

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN by Natalie Adona, Nevada County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters, in accordance with the provisions of the Elections Laws of the State of California, that on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, there will be a Presidential Primary Election.

Read More

Calling All Election Workers!

Interested in serving in one of our vote centers this election? Serve our community and your country!

Apply Today

950 Maidu Avenue, Suite 210

Nevada City, CA 95959

Phone: 530-265-1298

Toll Free: 1-888-395-1298

TTY: 530-265-1335

Fax: 530-265-9829

Monday - Friday, excluding Holidays 

8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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