What Is a Nonpartisan Election?

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The word “nonpartisan,” sometimes written “non-partisan,” means not biased, particularly toward a political party. In order to curtail the influence of political parties, the United States holds nonpartisan local elections. Nonpartisan election laws only allow candidates to run under their own names. They do not represent political parties.

In practice, political parties sometimes support nonpartisan candidates. In order to avoid this situation, an “absolute” nonpartisan scheme is applied in California. Political parties are not allowed to support candidates in this type of election. The scheme was developed in an effort to make the election campaigns themselves nonpartisan. Elections in the United States and all over the world are monitored by independent observation groups that are required to be nonpartisan.