The Democratic and Republican National Conventions are finally behind us, as well as the Libertarian National Convention. After the Green Party formally nominates Jill Stein during the first week of August, it will be full speed ahead to the general election. Though they are not the only ones running, Stein, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Gary Johnson are seemingly locked in a four-way race, though neither Stein nor Johnson have polled at the necessary 15 percent to appear at the presidential debates. But suppose you want to vote for Stein; can you vote Green as a registered Democrat?
In the aftermath of the DNC, where Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders conceded the nomination to Clinton, some of his supporters have turned to Stein as a more progressive alternative to Clinton. But many of them, particularly those from states with closed primaries, might be registered Democrats, because closed primaries require you to be registered under the same party as the candidate you're voting for.
Luckily, the general election is different from the primaries. Primaries and caucuses are organized by the parties to determine their eventual nominee, and the parties can decide whether they want open, semi-closed, or closed primaries. The general election, on the other hand, allows for more flexibility. So if you are a registered Democrat, Republican, or Independent — or even if you're a registered voter with no party affiliation — you can vote for whomever you want, and that includes the Green Party's candidates.
This is important. The Green Party is currently on the ballots in 24 states and the District of Columbia, and that includes down-ballot candidates, too, which are elected officials at the district, state, and national levels. On Election Day, as long as you are registered to vote, you will be able to vote for any candidate of your choosing. But Stein and other Green Party candidates may not appear on the ballot in your state, so remember that you can also write in candidates from any party when voting.
During primary season, Stein encouraged voters in states like California — states with closed or semi-closed primaries — to vote for her if they were registered with the Green Party and to vote for Sanders if they were registered as Democrats or as "No Party Preference." But now it's time for the general election, and with Sanders out of the running, Stein will need the full strength of his supporters behind her if she hopes to establish ballot access in all states and make it onto the debate stage.