June 24, 2022

California Political Party Qualifications – California Globe

The California Election Code provides the qualifications for political parties in Division 5, Chapter 1. Section 5000 defines the term “party” and Chapter 1 applies to political bodies and parties. Article 5001 specifies when a group of voters wishes to qualify a new political party, then the group must form a body politic by:

  • Hold a caucus or convention at which temporary officers are elected and a party name designated. The designated name cannot be so similar to the name of an existing party as to mislead voters, and cannot conflict with that of an existing party or political body that has already filed a notice .
  • File a formal notice with the Secretary of State that the political body has organized, elected temporary officers, and declared its intention to qualify a political party.

Section 5002 requires the Secretary of State to notify each county election officer of the name of the political body, its intention to qualify as a political party, and whether it intends to qualify for the next primary election or for the next general presidential election.

Section 5003 provides that a political body, within the first 70 days of the filing of the required notice, has the right, upon application to the Secretary of State, to count towards its qualification as a political party registration affidavits in which voters declared their affiliation with the body politic prior to the date the body politic filed the notice with the Secretary of State.

Section 5004 provides that if on the 135th day before any primary election, a political body filing notice of its intention to qualify for a primary election has not qualified as a political party, the political body shall be considered to have abandoned its attempt to be considered a political party and not eligible to participate in the next primary election.

Section 5005 specifies that a newly qualified political party must operate in accordance with the procedures applicable to any other political party that has detailed statutory provisions applicable to its operation, as designated by the newly qualified party. The temporary leaders of the newly qualified elected political party must file notice of their selection with the Secretary of State no later than 30 days after the political party is qualified.

Section 5006 provides that any newly qualified political party is required to conduct its presidential primary election in accordance with the procedures applicable to any other political party that has detailed statutory provisions applicable to its presidential primary as designated by the newly qualified party.

Chapter 2 deals with the parties qualified to participate in the primary election. Article 5100 provides that the party is qualified to participate in a primary election under specified conditions.

Section 5100.5 requires each party, upon election for governor, to have their qualifications reviewed by the Secretary of State. A party that does not meet the qualifying standards should be barred from participating in any primary election. A party seeking to qualify under the provisions of this section shall file formal notice with the Secretary of State that the party intends to regain qualification.

Section 5101 provides that whenever the registration of a party that qualified in the previous direct primary election falls below one-fifteenth of 1% of the total state registration, this party cannot be qualified to participate in the primary election but is deemed to have been abandoned by the voters. The Secretary of State shall immediately remove the name of the party from any list, notice, ballot, or other publication containing the names of the parties qualified to contest the primary election.

Section 5102 prohibits a party from being recognized or qualified to participate in any primary election which directly or indirectly conducts, advocates, teaches, justifies, aids or encourages the overthrow by any unlawful means of, or which directly or indirectly indirectly advocates, teaches, justifies, aids or abets a program of sabotage, force and violence, sedition or treason against the government of the United States or such State.

Chapter 2.5 deals with the parties qualified to participate in the general presidential election. Section 5150 states that this chapter applies to a political body that was not qualified to contest a presidential primary election but nevertheless seeks to qualify to contest the next presidential general election by nominating candidates for the office of president and vice president of the United States by nominating convention, or by means other than a primary election, to appear on the ballot for the general presidential election.

Article 5151 stipulates that a party is qualified to participate in a general presidential election under specific conditions.

Section 5152 specifies that, in the election for governor, each party must have its qualifications reviewed by the Secretary of State. A party that does not meet the qualification criteria is barred from participating in the general presidential election. A party must maintain its qualification to participate in any subsequent general presidential election by complying with specified conditions.

Section 5153 provides that whenever the registration of a party that qualified in the previous general election falls below one-fifteenth of 1% of the total state registration, that party is not qualified to contest a presidential general election but is deemed to have been abandoned by voters. The Secretary of State must then immediately remove the name of the party from any list, notice, ballot or other publication containing the names of the parties qualified to contest a general presidential election.

Section 5154 prohibits any party from being recognized or qualified to participate in a general presidential election that directly or indirectly exercises, advocates, teaches, justifies, aids or encourages the overthrow by any unlawful means of, or directly exercises or indirectly advocates, teaches, justifies, aids, or encourages a program of sabotage, force and violence, sedition, or treason against the government of the United States or such state.

Chapter 3 deals with the disqualification of political parties. Section 5200 requires the Secretary of State, at least 123 days before a primary or presidential general election, with the advice and consent of the Attorney General, to determine which parties are disqualified from contesting a primary or general election presidential.

If it is proposed to disqualify a party that was qualified to participate in the previous direct primary, a notice of intent to disqualify must be served by registered mail on the chairman of the party’s state central committee, as shown in the records of the Secretary of State.