Unenrolled voter

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In the United States, an unenrolled voter is a voter who has failed to declare their voting intention. In other parts of the world, an unenrolled voter is one who is not registered to vote.

Unenrolled voters in the United States[edit]

Typically, unenrolled voters do cast a vote for a Democrat or a Republican candidate after considering the issues.[citation needed] The right of unenrolled voters to vote in any party's primary presidential elections varies by state; in some, one party holds a "closed primary" in which only voters registered with that affiliation may vote, while other parties hold an "open primary" that does not require specific affiliation.

In some states, such as Massachusetts, citizens can choose to refer to themselves specifically as unenrolled voters. Many people refer to an unenrolled voter as being synonymous with an Independent. However, this group should not be confused with preference towards the United Independent Party — a Massachusetts-specific "independent party" — or other Independent political parties. These unenrolled voters may be listed on an Unenrolled list in their state. There are political chapters of unenrolled voters in various states, such as Massachusetts.[citation needed]

Unenrolled voters tend to support voting for whichever candidate, party or philosophy they feel best represents them.

Similar terminology[edit]

Many states officially accommodate their unenrolled voters by having what is called an open caucus and then an open primary.

One operational definition considered for "unenrolled voter" is an individual who is registered to vote but has not enrolled in a political party; this is the definition used by the state legislature of Maine.[2] One of the most recent uses of the terminology of "unenrolled voters" appeared in the Boston Globe on March 27, 2006. The article was associated with John McCain.

Automatic party enrollment[edit]

In some states an unenrolled voter who votes in a presidential primary automatically becomes enrolled in the party for which their vote was cast, unless they take a simple step to elect to do otherwise. Typically these states allow unenrolled Americans to switch parties after casting their vote in national elections by providing them with signature cards at polling stations. These cards have a box where party affiliation may be declared as Democrat, Republican, Unenrolled or other.

When voting in a state primary, unenrolled voters retain their unenrolled status after they have cast a vote. That is to say, the unenrolled voter does not become enrolled in a particular political party as a result of the party chosen during the ballot. An unenrolled voter does not need to fill out a party change form after voting.

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