Have you been sitting on the sidelines of the exciting Republican presidential nomination campaign wishing you could participate, too? But do you live in a closed primary state like Pennsylvania or New Jersey, in which only registered Republicans can vote in Republican primary elections, and you’re not registered Republican?
Is it starting to look like your state’s late primary election could be relevant after all in the protracted Republican nomination battle? Pennsylvania’s primary is April 24. New Jersey’s is June 5. And 16 other states have Republican presidential primaries on or after April 24.
Do you have an opinion on the Republican nomination race? Is there a candidate you would prefer to win your state’s primary, either because he’s the best, or least bad candidate? Or would you prefer one candidate to win your state’s Republican primary in order to prolong the nomination battle, and to make Republicans spend as much of their money as possible before the general election campaign?
Good news! You may be able to vote in the Republican presidential primary in your state by re-registering to vote and changing your party affiliation. Pennsylvania allows registration and changes in registration up to 30 days before an election. In the case of the April 24 primary, that would make the deadline March 26.
New Jersey allows changes of party affiliation up to 55 days before a primary election, which would make April 11 the deadline to change party in time for the June 5 presidential primary. New voters have until 21 days before the election to register, so that would be May 15. And registered voters without party affiliation should be able to declare their party affiliation at the polls and vote on the day of a primary election.
Some other states require earlier changes in party registration, and those deadlines may already have passed. Delaware, for example, requires changes in party affiliation to be declared 60 days before a primary election, which made February 24 the deadline for its April 24 primary. But Delaware will accept new voter registrations until March 31, and those new voters if declared as Republicans will be able to vote in the April 24 Republican presidential primary.
Details on when, where, and how to change voter registration are available on-line at each state’s Department of Elections website. Pennsylvanians should look here. New Jersey citizens should look here. And Delawareans can look here.