Q. How do I vote?
A. On the home page, click the image of the candidate you like best. This will load our voter lookup page, where you can enter your official voter registration name and address. When we successfully verify your voter registration in your state/territory, your vote will count in our straw poll nationally and in your state/territory.
Q. What if your system can’t find my voter registration?
A. We count your vote even if we can’t find your voter registration – and we send you an email to confirm your vote counted. The official voter files are maintained separately by each county in the US, so there is no single unified national voter file. We use a national voter file created by a company that combines all the local files, but it is impossible for them to create a 100% accurate file. If we can’t find your registration in our system, we provide a link to your state’s official registration lookup, so you can make sure your registration is active. If your state lookup can’t find your registration, then you should register right away so you can vote in the next election. You can register by contacting your county election office, or start the registration process online at vote.org.
Q. Is this a real Democratic primary?
A. No, the only real Democratic primaries are held separately in 2020 by 50 states and 5 territories, starting with the Iowa Caucus on February 3, 2020. Our poll is a “Straw Poll.”
Q. What is a “Straw Poll”?
A. It’s an unofficial poll that allows everyone who shows up to vote. Since you showed up here, you can vote! Straw polls are not scientific but are useful for spotting trends and measuring grassroots enthusiasm for different candidates. According to Wikipedia,
Well-known American straw polls include the Ames Straw Poll and the Texas Straw Poll, both conducted on behalf of their respective state Republican Party organizations. Being run by private organizations, they are not subject to public oversight or verifiability. However, they provide important interactive dialogue among movements within large groups, reflecting trends like organization and motivation.
Q. Is Democrats.com the website of the Democratic Party?
A. No the offical website of the Democratic Party is democrats.org. Democrats.com is the original independent online community of progressive activists; we fight for jobs, justice, healthcare, education, the environment, and peace. (Meet our team here.) We have over 3 million supporters, so our straw poll is a good indicator of support among Democratic and progressive activists who are most likely to vote in the official Democratic primaries.
Q. What are the rules of this poll?
- You must be registered to vote, or eligible to register and vote in 2020.
- Votes by registered Republicans (and other conservative third parties) are not counted.
- Since we verify your vote, you can only vote once. If you vote more than once, only your last vote counts. So if you change your mind over the course of the campaign, we encourage you to come back and change your vote.
- We actively monitor the poll to remove votes by bots, trolls, and ineligible voters.
Q. Do you have to be registered as a Democrat to vote in official Democratic primaries?
A. This is complicated because only 28 states allow voters to register with a political party. Therefore the Democratic Party allows each state to set its own rules for its primaries. Some states are closed: you must be registered as a Democrat, in some cases a year before the primary. Some states are open: you can decide on primary day whether to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary – but not both. Most states are somewhere between closed and open. Supporters of 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won reforms to Democratic Party rules to encourage more states to adopt open primaries.