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If I'm a registered Democrat, does this mean I can't vote for a?

You can, yes. In a general election, no one knows whom youre voting for. Even if youre a Republican who says youre going to vote for a Democrat, theres no law against it. The people you tell might have opinions that differ from yours, and theyre free to say so, but no one can stop you. Primary elections are different. Their rules depend on your states or territorys laws. Some states require that you must be a party member in order to vote in that partys primary or caucus. To be a party member for this purpose, all you have to do is tell the state Im a Democrat, or Im a Republican, or Im a Whig or whatever when you register to vote. You dont have to tell anyone in that party what youre doing, if you dont want to. Some states mandate that you register as a party member by a certain date before the primary. Some let you change on Election Day. There is no national standard. Some states dont mandate that you be a party member to vote in a primary. If thats the case, you still have to choose a party to cast your primary ballot in; I dont think any state lets you cast primary ballots for more than one contest. In states like this, sometimes youll see strategic voting, where people who want a certain party to lose will vote for another partys candidates they feel will be easier for their own partys candidate to beat. Some might say this is sleazy, while others insist its all part of political strategy. Either way, its perfectly legal.

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