Political Party Qualification



Qualified political parties are entitled to have candidates identified with that political party run for partisan offices on the ballot. In order for a party to have such identified candidates, that party must have already qualified to participate in the primary election scheduled for 2010 or, if not qualified, must have completed all the qualification requirements by the 135th day before the June 8, 2010, Primary Election.

The political parties currently qualified to participate in the party nominating process called the Statewide Direct Primary election are, in alphabetical order: American Independent, Democratic, Green, Libertarian, Peace and Freedom, and Republican.

Political bodies can qualify by registration or by petition for the 2010 primary election. The number of registrants or petition signers is based on a percentage of the number of persons (8,899,059) who voted at the November 7, 2006, General Election.

To qualify a new political party by registration requires that 88,991 persons (one percent) complete an affidavit of registration, on which they have written in the proposed party name as the party they affiliate with. These affidavits of registration must be completed and mailed in by the 154th day before the June 8, 2010, Primary Election date.

To qualify a new political party by petition requires that 889,906 persons (ten percent) sign a petition seeking the inclusion of the proposed party in the party nominating process at the June 8, 2010, Primary Election. These petitions must be filed with the several counties by the proponent in such time that the counties verify the signatures and certify the counts to the Secretary of State who certifies the proposed party's qualification not later than the 135th day before the June 8, 2010, Primary Election date.

A process, allowing political bodies to become political parties, is contained in Division 5 of the Elections Code (included below). To begin the process of qualifying, a political body should follow the procedure spelled out in Sections 5001 through 5003.

Note to Political Body Organizers

This memorandum is intended to provide general information about the formation of political bodies and does not have the force and effect of law, regulation, or rule. It is distributed with the understanding that the Secretary of State is not rendering legal advice and this memorandum is not a substitute for legal counsel for any person or group using it. In case of conflict, the law, regulation, or rule will apply. Interested persons should obtain the most up-to-date information available because of possible changes in law or procedure since the publication of this memorandum.

Elections Code

Division 5. Political Party Qualifications

Chapter 1. New Party Qualifications

5000. This chapter shall apply to political parties not otherwise provided for in Division 7 (commencing with Section 7000.)

5001. Whenever a group of electors desires to qualify a new political party meeting the requirements of Section 5100, that group shall form a political body by:
(a) Holding a caucus or convention at which temporary officers shall be elected and a party name designated, which name shall not conflict with that of any existing party or political body that has previously filed notice pursuant to subdivision (b).
(b) Filing formal notice with the Secretary of State that the political body has organized, elected temporary officers, and declared an intent to qualify a political party pursuant to Section 5100. The notice shall include the names and addresses of the temporary officers of the political body.

5002. Upon receipt of the notice specified in Section 5001, the Secretary of State shall notify each county elections official of the name of the political body and its intent to qualify as a political party.

In preparing the statement of voters and their political affiliations, the county elections officials shall tabulate by political affiliation the affidavits of registration of members of political parties qualified pursuant to Section 5100, and political bodies formally declaring an intent to qualify as political parties pursuant to Section 5001. All other affidavits of registration, except those of persons declining to state a political affiliation, shall be tabulated as miscellaneous registrations.

5003. A political body within the first 70 days after filing the formal notice required by Section 5001 is entitled, upon request to the Secretary of State, to have counted toward its qualification as a political party affidavits of registration in which voters declared affiliation with the political body prior to the date the political body filed the formal notice with the Secretary of State.

5004. If by the 135th day before any primary election, a political body filing notice pursuant to Section 5001 has not qualified as a political party pursuant to Section 5100, the political body shall be considered to have abandoned its attempt to qualify as a political party and shall be ineligible to participate in the following primary.

5005. Until otherwise provided for by statute, a political party newly qualified pursuant to Section 5100 shall carry on its activities in accordance with procedures applicable to any other political party that has detailed statutory provisions applicable to its operation as shall be designated by the newly qualified party. The temporary officers of the newly qualified political party elected pursuant to Section 5001 shall file notice of its selection with the Secretary of State not later than 30 days after the political qualifies.

5006. Any political party newly qualifying pursuant to Section 5100 shall conduct its presidential primary election in accordance with procedures applicable to any other political party that has detailed statutory provisions applicable to its presidential primary as shall be designated by the newly qualified party.

If a newly qualified political party has not elected permanent officers, the temporary officers shall notify, on or before February 1 of the presidential primary year, the Secretary of State of the designated procedures the party has selected for its presidential primary.

Chapter 2. Parties Qualified to Participate in the Primary Election

5100. A party is qualified to participate in any primary election under any of the following conditions:

(a) If at the last preceding gubernatorial election there was polled for any one of its candidates for any office voted on throughout the state, at least 2 percent of the entire vote of the state.

(b) If on or before the 135th day before any primary election, it appears to the Secretary of State, as a result of examining and totaling the statement of voters and their political affiliations transmitted to him or her by the county elections officials, that voters equal in number to at least 1 percent of the entire vote of the state at the last preceding gubernatorial election have declared their intention to affiliate with that party.

(c) If on or before the 135th day before any primary election, there is filed with the Secretary of State a petition signed by voters, equal in number to at least 10 percent of the entire vote of the state at the last preceding gubernatorial election, declaring that they represent a proposed party, the name of which shall be stated in the petition, which proposed party those voters desire to have participate in that primary election. This petition shall be circulated, signed, verified and the signatures of the voters on it shall be certified to and transmitted to the Secretary of State by the county elections officials substantially as provided for initiative petitions. Each page of the petition shall bear a caption in 18-point blackface type, which caption shall be the name of the proposed party followed by the words Petition to participate in the primary election. No voters or organization of voters shall assume a party name or designation which is so similar to the name of an existing party as to mislead voters.

5100.5. (a) Upon the occurrence of the gubernatorial election, each party shall have its qualifications reviewed by the Secretary of State. A party that does not meet the standards for qualification set forth in Section 5100 shall be prohibited from participating in any primary election. A party shall maintain its qualification to participate in any subsequent primary election by complying with any of the conditions specified in Section 5100.

(b) A party seeking qualification under provisions of this section and subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 5100 shall file formal notice with the Secretary of State that the party intends to regain qualification.

(c) Unless formal notice as required in subdivision (b) is timely received by the Secretary of State, he or she may have the name of the party omitted from any list, notice, ballot, or other publication containing the names of the parties qualified or seeking qualification that the Secretary of State may cause to be printed or published.

(d) For purposes of subdivision (b) of Section 8001, this section shall only be applicable to a party that has successfully obtained that status for the first time after having been a political body, and shall not apply to a political party that has been disqualified.

5101. Whenever the registration of any party that qualified in the previous direct primary election falls below one-fifteenth of 1 percent of the total state registration, that party shall not be qualified to participate in the primary election but shall be deemed to have been abandoned by the voters. The Secretary of State shall immediately remove the name of the party form any list, notice, ballot, or other publication containing the names of the parties qualified to participate in the primary election.

5102. No party shall be recognized or qualified to participate in any primary election that either directly or indirectly carries on, advocates, teaches, justifies, aids, or abets the overthrow by any unlawful means of, or that directly or indirectly carries on, advocates, teaches, justifies, aids, or abets a program of sabotage, force and violence, sedition or treason against, the government of the United States or of this state.

Chapter 3. Disqualification of Political Parties.

5200. Not less than 123 days before a primary election, the Secretary of State shall, with the advice and consent of the Attorney General, determine which parties are disqualified to participate in any primary election under Section 5102. If it is proposed to disqualify a party that was qualified to participate in the next preceding direct primary, notice of intention to disqualify shall be served by registered mail on the chairperson of the state central committee of the party, as shown by the records of the Secretary of State. In any event, notice of intention to disqualify shall be given in each county of the state by publication pursuant to Section 6061 of the Government Code. If there is no newspaper of general circulation printed and published in any county, publication shall be made in a newspaper of general circulation printed and published in an adjoining county.

If the party desires a hearing on the notice of intention to disqualify, it shall, within 10 days after service by mail or within 10 days after the last date upon which the notice was published in any county, whichever is later, file an affidavit in the Supreme Court under Section 13314 setting forth facts showing that the political party is not disqualified to participate in any primary election under Section 5102. If the party does not file the affidavit within the time specified, the notice of intention to disqualify shall constitute final disqualification. Before the affidavit is filed, a copy shall be personally served on the Secretary of State. When filed, the matter shall be set for return in not more than 10 days and shall have priority over any other pending cases. In connection with proceedings in the Supreme Court under this section, the Legislature hereby declares its intent to create a speedy and expeditious method for judicial determination of the vital questions involved, and urges the Supreme Court to accept jurisdiction in any such proceeding. The Legislature further urges that the court instruct any referee before whom the taking of evidence is ordered to report back to the court in sufficient time so that the court's final order may be made effective on or before the 80th day before the primary election.


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